UNLV Partners with Nevada Science Olympiad to Inspire Future Scientists

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Clark High School stands on stage after winning the state championship title at Nevada Science Olympiad, Student Union Ballroom, Saturday, March 30, 2023 (Photo/Allister Dias)

On March 30, UNLV hosted the Nevada Science Olympiad State Competition in the Student Union Ballroom. 

Nevada Science Olympiad is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping K-12 students explore and grow their knowledge in science. This program includes applying knowledge of  science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM. The STEM program, Science Olympiad, is a nationally recognized program that helps young students across America develop their knowledge through science-based competitions. 

Students compete in groups in different events that are designed to test their knowledge of a variety of subjects relating to science. To make the playing fields more even, students are placed in different divisions based on their grade. Division A is for grades 2 through 5, Division B is for grades 6 through 9 and Division C is for grades 9 through 12. 

UNLV has partnered with the Nevada Science Olympiad to help grow young students’ interest in STEM as a part of the Young Rebels initiative. 

The event held at UNLV consisted of 388 middle school and high school students from 14 schools across the state. These students competed in a total of 49 events throughout the olympiad. 

Sharon Jalene, Ph.D., serves as the director for the Nevada Science Olympiad and Young Rebels partnership. She was able to put this event together through the suggestion of one of her former UNLV students, Jenifer Dang. As a high school participant of the Nevada Science Olympiad, Dang had suggested to Jalene that UNLV should host the event. 

A main factor to making the competition happen, according Jalene, was that “Dean Brown has agreed to cover the additional costs of the event.” 

While the Nevada Science Olympiad covers some of the costs, there are many extra expenses that Dean Brown was able to pull together to ensure the event could happen. 

The repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic have stood in the way of this event being held fully in-person until this year. In previous years, the event was held either fully or partially online.

Jalene said, “This year was the first year we had all of the events on campus and the awards ceremony on campus.”

Being in-person and on campus also brings a lot of positive outcomes to the young students who participate.

Jalene added, “There is something really great about bringing those students on campus, to be in the classrooms, to meet graduate assistants, and in some cases, professors. It gives them a feeling of excitement about going to college.” 

This program allows students to experience college and the benefits of pursuing higher education. Each event is held in a different classroom, so they are able to really explore the university. 

At the end of the event, there is an awards ceremony held for all the teams that participated. After a long day of challenging competitions, the students are able to be recognized for their accomplishments in science. 

“The awards ceremony is very uplifting. Kids were screaming for science, it was like it was at a football game. They were very supportive of each other,” said Jalene. 

Nevada Science Olympiad brings new knowledge and friendships to students across Nevada. Despite the competitive nature of the event, students cheered on others for their accomplishments and are able to bond over their interest in the STEM fields. 

UNLV hopes to continue to grow this partnership and hold these competitions to encourage young students in Nevada to pursue their passion for science. 
More information on UNLV’s partnership with the Nevada Science Olympiad can be found at https://youngrebels.unlv.edu/programs/nevada-science-olympiad/

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