Science Olympiad continues to explore obscure scientific topics with new members


Natalie Arbatman

Scientific subjects such as dynamic planet oceanography and cryptography are just a few of the events offered at the school’s competitive Science Olympiad Club, whose goal is to advance to nationals this year.

The Science Olympiad club, more commonly known as SCIOLY, gives students the opportunity to explore a variety of STEM fields. With over 40 new members, the club has grown substantially this year.

SCIOLY won second in the 2019 NorCal State tournament

According to Club Co-President Nitin Kumar, each member normally trains and competes in four events. The team is split up into the gold team and the black team, the black team being more competitive. 

“Events range the entire span of the sciences, from geology, to chemistry, to physics, to cryptography,” Kumar said. “There’s basically an event for anything that you might find yourself wanting to do.”

According to Kumar, there are usually two to three people competing in each event. They work together with their mentors to train and study for competitions. 

According to Club Co-President Nicole Xin, mentors are “professionals in their respective fields.” The mentors range from Stanford graduates to Google employees to doctors that, according to Xin, “come in to help with specific areas and help with specific events.”

There’s basically an event for anything that you might find yourself wanting to do.

According to Xin, about half of the 40 new members are freshmen. The club presidents and mentors are working to organize the club and deal with the influx of new people. 

“We held an orientation night… we gave an info presentation… we have different forms to sign that help us organize everyone and try-outs.” Xin said. “ We also have people sending out emails all the time to keep everything organized.” 

According to Kumar, the presidents hope that the new members and their parents will help provide a new infrastructure so they can continue to be organized with their many members.

“With the new freshmen, we are getting a lot of new parent volunteers and we’re really becoming a community that strengthens each other.” Kumar said.

The team competed in the 2019 Santa Clara Regional Tournament

According to the club’s advisor, Dr. Ning, the club is almost completely student-run. 

“I think [mine and Nicole’s most important job [as presidents], is setting the team culture,” Kumar said. “That means making sure we’re on track to do super well, keeping students motivated, making sure everybody knows what’s going on and are working together.”

The club’s black team has won second place at state-level competitions for the past three years and won first at the regional tournament for the past two years. According to Kumar, getting to nationals has been the club’s big goal for the last three years.   

“The award ceremony for our first tournament at Mira Loma was really rewarding,” Kumar said. “It was awesome to hear your name get called and earn medals in events you’ve worked really hard for.”

It was awesome to hear your name get called and earn medals in events you’ve worked really hard for.

Sophomore Kavi Gollamudi said he joined the club his freshman year because of its competitive nature. This year he will be competing in dynamic planet oceanography, ornithology, the ping pong parachute event, and the gravity vehicle event. 

“I wanted to [do] more science competitions, like in middle school [when] we had science quiz bowl, and [SCIOLY] seemed like another opportunity for competition like that.” Gollamudi said. 

Xin joined her freshman year because she “didn’t really know what [she] wanted to do in the future, so I decided to give this club a try.” 

According to Xin, the club has opened up her knowledge of different fields she might want to pursue in the future.

“It’s just a very good experience… you can learn teamwork, you have a community to lean back on to,” Xin said, “It’s a really good place to gather with people that like the same things as you do.”