Westview High School's Abhijit Mudigonda, Eddie Wang, Vincent Zhuang, Chris Younkins and David Wang pose with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz after finishing second in the 2014 National Science Bowl competition in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dennis Brack, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science)
“This is great news for these students, their schools and our region,” says BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer. “Westview and the Science Infinity Club exemplify a commitment to science and learning that everyone in the Northwest should be extremely proud of.”
The National Science Bowl brings together thousands of middle and high school students from across the country in a fast-paced question-and-answer competition over four days. Each team is composed of four students, an alternate and a coach. In the quiz-show-style competition, students answer multiple choice and short answer questions that test their knowledge in many scientific disciplines, including astronomy, biology, chemistry, energy, mathematics, physics, earth science, computer and general science. (Click here to view sample questions.)
More than 9,300 high school students and 5,200 middle school students throughout the nation competed in regionals. Those teams that won their regional competition qualified for nationals.
The Westview team outwitted 67 other teams before narrowly losing to three-time champion Mira Loma High School of Sacramento, Calif., in the finals.
The team of five students from Westview – Abhijit Mudigonda, Eddie Wang, Vincent Zhuang, Chris Younkins and David Wang – beat 67 other teams to make it to the finals in the National Building Museum where it narrowly lost to three-time champion Mira Loma High School of Sacramento, Calif. The Science Infinity Club team – Rahul Chaliparambil, Veena Kollipara, Neha Nagvekar, Dhruvik Parikh and Sagarika Samavedi – finished fourth out of a field of 48 middle school teams.
Renuka Vallarapu, coach of the Science Infinity Club team, says competing with some of the smartest young minds from every corner of the nation was a tremendous experience. “The kids and I will cherish the memories for the rest of our lives,” she says.
The Science Infinity Club from Bellevue, Wash., placed fourth in the middle school competition. From left to right, coach Renuka Vallarapu, Veena Kollipara, Neha Nagvekar, Dhruvik Parikh, Rahul Chaliparambil and Sagarika Samavedi (Photo by Jack Dempsey, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science)
With its second-place finish, Westview receives a five-day guided tour of Great Salt Lake Park, Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. And both Westview and Science Infinity Club also win $1,000 for their school’s science department. For complete results of the high school competition, click here. For the middle school results, click here.
“This is an absolutely phenomenal accomplishment by these students and their coaches,” says Science Bowl coordinator Christy Adams of BPA. “As tough as our regional competition is, the nationals are 10 times tougher as you’re facing off against the best teams across the country. We are so proud of these teams!”
Both teams earned an all-expenses-paid trip to nationals after winning the BPA-sponsored regional science bowls in late January and early February. On Feb. 1, Westview earned its trip to nationals after outwitting a field of 72 teams. And the Science Infinity Club was the last team standing at the middle school competition Jan. 25, which included 66 teams. The top three teams in the region’s high school division – Westview and two teams from Interlake High School in Bellevue, Wash. – were also offered up to $85,000 in scholarships to Northwest colleges and universities.
Teams from the Northwest have regularly finished in the top tier at nationals. In 2011, Shahala Middle School of Vancouver, Wash., placed second and Portland’s Sunset High School came in third.
BPA has hosted its Regional Science Bowl for 23 years as part of its commitment to encourage young minds to engage in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as consider careers in these fields and the energy industry. It has become the largest regional science bowl in country, with more than 600 students from public and private schools in western Washington and western and central Oregon competing for a berth in DOE’s National Science Bowl. The BPA Regional Science Bowl is sponsored by the University of Portland, Google, Drexel University Online and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Inc.