While some students may groan at the thought of science class, others—like the five members of the Science Bowl team at the —took their love of science to the top by competing in the 21st annual National Science Bowl. The quest to explore science led students Abdul Ali, Nyree Catlin, Nate Chaffin-Reed, Vito DiGiorgio and Vi Truong to the competition in Washington, D.C., on April 28.
The event, which is put on by the U.S. Department of Energy, draws teams from over 110 high schools to compete in all areas of science. Its goal is to spark interest in the sciences and encourage students to pursue careers in those fields.
Participating in the Bowl for the first time, the Preuss School team ultimately went home without a win, but they say the experience taught them more than they ever would have expected. Here’s what the team had to say in an email response to Patch's questions about this year’s competition:
La Jolla Patch: How did you prepare for the National Science Bowl?
Science Bowl Team: We all studied different types of science and then rotated so that we would all have a chance to learn about each subject. We also practiced using example questions and our buzzer set. It was important to practice answering actual questions and using the buzzers so that we wouldn't blurt or go over time for each question.
La Jolla Patch: What did you enjoy most about the event?
Team: What was most fun was actually competing in Washington because there were so many teams from all over the United States. Getting questions right and winning matches made us feel very good about ourselves. Even when we didn’t win, it was still really fun because we worked as a team and were able to learn a lot. Another part that we enjoyed was touring around Washington, D.C, and the Museum Mall, and being able to experience what the East Coast is like.
La Jolla Patch: How did this competition differ from your previous events?
Team: It was an awesome experience because we got to meet a lot of new people, make friends and see a whole other area of the U.S. We enjoyed the thrill of competing and working as a team. For instance, when our Hydrogen Cell Car didn't work because of technical difficulties, we tried to put it back together with materials from CVS. We almost got it running again using a balloon and candy wrapper! It showed us that no matter what, we were in it together. The National Science Bowl helped us to gain strength in science and allowed us to work together to compete on the national level. It is an experience that none of us will ever forget.
La Jolla Patch: What would you like others to know about your participation in the National Science Bowl?
Team: [We want them to] know how fun it is, and they can get involved in their school as well. At Preuss we have both middle school and high school NOBCChE (National Organization of the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers) teams that are coached by our science teacher, Ms. Biersbach. In NOBCChE we learn about science, get to compete against high school students, and also learn about black scientists and their discoveries throughout history.
La Jolla Patch: Why do you think science is an important field of study?
Team: To make sure you understand the world around you, and to learn more about it. Also to discover new things and make the world a better and more interesting place to live.
La Jolla Patch: Any advice for students who want to become part of a science team?
Team: Study, study, study! And practice too so that you don’t go there and end up losing without a chance. There are a lot of strong scientists out there, and it is impressive to see how strong some schools are. Also make sure to pursue what you are striving for and don’t give up, even when your hydrogen cell car stops working.