Ninety eight Armenian middle and high school students with eighty projects from eight schools faced tough competition at the AESA’s 9th Science Olympiad (SO) on March 6 in California State University, Northridge (CSUN). The competition, organized by AESA’s Science Olympiad Committee is the only science competition created for middle and high school Armenian students in the United States. Since its inception in 2002, the committee has been dedicated to the advancement of science and engineering among Armenian students.
This year, participating students, who had experienced the challenges and thrills of taking a project from conception to competition, displayed higher quality projects in the fields of physical and life sciences. Their projects were judged by a team of volunteer professional scientists and engineers based on the creativity, scientific thought and data analysis, thoroughness, presentation, as well as clarity.
The day started with the interview of the participating students by an expert panel of judges. Then followed by an educational and exciting “Science Trivia & Game”, where 12 teams of five students competed in the fields of science and mathematics. Five bright students won the fast paced competition and took home gift certificate awards.
Students and audience were very fortunate to have Professor Nzhde Agazaryan from UCLA school of Medicine for a very interesting scientific presentation; The Invisible Knife: Recent Advances in Radio Surgery and Radiotherapy. Prof. Agazaryan presented the latest innovation of cancer treatments for different organs using the radiotherapy.
After long anticipation, the award ceremony started with more than 200 students, parents, educators and science enthusiasts in attendance. Dr. Marina Guevrekian, the AESA SO Committee Chairwoman praised all the bright and exemplary students who had participated in the 9th AESA SO competition; then she invited the outstanding students who had been selected by the SO panel of experienced judges to join her on the podium to receive their custom made 2010 made in Armenia obsidian medallions, and cash prizes ranging from $500 to $50 for the first to honorable mention places, respectively.
After the students’ awards, the teacher appreciation award was bestowed on Mr. Artin Behin, from Hovsepian Armenian School, for his outstanding contributions in mentoring and inspiring students in science and engineering throughout the year as well as his efforts in encouraging more participants and award winners in this year’s AESA Science Olympiad. Mr. Behin will receive a check for $300 for the purchase of a scientific instrument for his school’s science laboratory. Student’s aspiration and level of efforts are immensely impacted by the encouragements and support they receive from their parents. This year, AESA Science Olympiad Committee for the second year, hosted a student parents’ reception / meeting to discuss collaborative opportunities and approaches to motivate students.
Each year, more than a 1,000 middle and high school Armenian students participate in their school science fairs, and about 10% of these students move on to participate in LA county science fair but a small percentage to California State Science Fair and higher.
One of the many goals of AESA Science Olympiad is to help these bright young Armenian students to excel to higher levels of science fairs. The AESA SO mentorship and competition programs provide the opportunities for these students to seek the advice of professional mentors at inception of their science projects, to present their science projects to expert judges, to gain the experience of AESA SO’s more rigorous judging process, and to ask for the advice of judges who have served at the LA County and California State science fairs. SO Committee assists the Armenian students through mentoring / advising sessions at schools as well as E-mentoring.
The AESA Science Olympiad Committee receives support from the community benefactors to execute annual programs and present awards for the Science competition. Over $3500 is awarded annually to the science competition participants and a teacher for his/her school. Awards range from $50 for honorary mention to the grand prize of $500 for the first place. For opportunities to support Science Olympiad Endowment Fund please contact Mr. Barkhoudarian at (818) 347-9122. The Fund establishes a life-time award under the donors name for the winning students.
AESA SOC is planning to expand its programs in 2010 and needs the help of community scientists and engineers. All SOC programs are aimed at motivating students in science and engineering, enhancing students’ self esteem, developing students’ communication and leadership skills and providing networking with Armenian industrialists, managers, Scientists and Engineers. To get engaged with Science Olympiad’s existing programs like mentorship, science workshops, field days, judging or to contribute to success of new programs please contact Dr. Marina Guevrekian, the Science Olympiad Chairwoman at (626) 568-9191.