Science Olympiad competes at states

Members reflect on their recent competition

Jahan Razavi and Robert Liu

On April 6, MVHS Science Olympiad competed in the NorCal State competition at California State University, Stanislaus. Of Science Olympiad’s three constituent teams, Purple, Gold and White (separated by skill level and experience), only the Purple Team competed at states, placing fourth overall, just one place from qualifying for nationals.

For captain of the Protein Modeling and Experimental Design events and junior Akshay Bharadwaj, the recent competition, like previous competitions in the season, required certain tactics to ensure a strong performance.

“On your part, just [make] sure you’re prepared, like looking at the rubric for the event multiple times and making sure you have writing utensils,” Bharadwaj said. “If you need eye protectors, making sure you have that as well. Just being prepared and having all your documents. On the day of, if you show up without it, that causes a lot of trouble, and it’s extra stress on top of the fact that you have to take the test.”

Co-VP of Engineering and junior Aditya Chittari shares a similar perspective about preparation. While he believes the long-term preparation leading up to a tournament is crucial, Chittari also stresses the importance of smaller, tedious actions. This core belief has proved to be successful in various competitions.

“In the days leading up to a major competition, it’s expected that all the members are already prepared, have already met up to study and practice with their partners,” Chittari said. “It’s important to coordinate with your partner to make sure who’s bringing what [for the competition], especially if you’re in an engineering event.”

For MVHS Science Olympiad, advancing to States has become an annual standard that the team hopes to maintain.

“We’ve been going consistently over the past couple of years,” Bharadwaj said. “We’ve been going once per year, and we’ve always finished in third place or fourth place.”

In addition to being a source of team pride, their advancement is also educational for many members. While the White Team did not place high enough at regionals to advance to states, White Team member and sophomore Anshul Dash attests to how valuable the experience is for him.

“Though this was only my first year in Science Olympiad, I learned a lot of lessons, like how Science Olympiad is all about teamwork,” Dash said. “Even if you prepared really well for an event, it’s also your responsibility to make sure your partner is prepared.”

However, Dash also feels that the team organization for competitions could still be improved upon. As a team-based event, Dash believes that the club should allow each competitor to choose their event partners rather than assign people who they could potentially have difficulties cooperating with.

Reflecting on this year’s competition season, Bharadwaj also agrees that team unity was weaker than normal this year. Bharadwaj believes communication was a constant issue, especially between officers and members.

“I feel like sometimes we [had] confusion because we’d feel like the members had to reach out to the event captains in order to get help,” Bharadwaj said. “Maybe they’re not asking for help because they’re waiting for the event officers to reach out to the members if they need anything.”

While Bharadwaj’s vision for the club’s performance at States, like every other team, was centered around a strong performance and potentially qualifying for nationals, he also prioritizes the educational experience of each competitor.

“Overall, just doing our best,” Bharadwaj said. “States is the highest level so far for the teams, so just improving and learning from all the past mistakes from invitationals or regionals, and learning that you’ve done a lot and progressed as a team and an individual as well.”


Check out the infographic below for the list of first place winners from MVHS Science Olympiad at the NorCal State competition.