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Regional Science Bowl Showcases Local Talent

Regional Science Bowl Showcases Local Talent

2017NOSB RhondaCumminsStudent discusses marine science problem. Image courtesy of Texas Sea Grant (Rhonda Cummins).This past Saturday, February 18, 2017 fifteen teams from nine schools throughout South Texas competed for the opportunity to win the Loggerhead Challenge. The Loggerhead Challenge is the Southern Texas Regional competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) and is organized by Texas Sea Grant and hosted at the Mission-Aransas Reserve and University of Texas Marine Science Institute. 

Competing for only their second year, the Brandeis team — Parth Ghawghawe, Jingsi Zhou, Andrew Luo, William Huang and Daniel Cao, coached by Leilani Heist — had only one returning member from last year’s winning team. The students will advance to the NOSB finals April 20-23 in Corvallis, Ore., where they will face more than 20 other teams from around the country.

“Team A” from The Village School in Houston took the second place title. Coached by Mila Taylor, team members are Nicholas Vaporciyan, Jerry Han, Rohith Karur, Alex Liu and Eric Liu.

Third place honors went to Gregory-Portland High School’s “Team A,” Alejandro Zuniga-Garcia, Aaron Buitron, Tanisha Agrawal, Namit Agrawal and Ethan Garza, coached by Liz Abel with Assistant Coach Alison Teinert.

Students from McAllen Memorial High School’s “Team B” — Mariana Garcia, Victoria Frias, Bianca Salinas and Julissa Gutierrez, coached by Antonio Villarreal — won the Dr. Wes Tunnell Sportsmanship Award. Tunnell, the Endowed Chair for Biodiversity and Conservation Science and Professor Emeritus at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is widely respected for both his integrity and his research. The sportsmanship award goes to the team judged by competition officials to best embody the spirit of earnest competition while demonstrating exemplary decorum.

The Loggerhead Challenge is the second of two regional NOSB competitions in Texas this month. Students from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Science and the Arts in Hot Springs, Ark., won the Dolphin Challenge Feb. 4 in Galveston.

2017NOSB Collage RhondaCummins

NOSB is a quiz bowl-style competition, in which students answer questions in all disciplines of the ocean sciences: biology, chemistry, physics, geology, geography and the social sciences. It is managed nationally by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. About 2,000 students from more than 300 high schools across the nation participate in NOSB each year.

The purpose behind all of the mental match-ups is to increase ocean literacy and prepare students for ocean related science and other STEM careers. Through this experience they will become knowledgeable citizens and better their understanding of environmental stewardship. The ocean is an ideal interdisciplinary teaching tool for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) that applies learning in a real world context. Working in the ocean environment poses challenges that push the innovation, engineering, and technology development needed in our workforce. Ocean science is not a course generally offered at the high school level, but this opportunity combines high school science and math in a format that is both exciting and challenging. The NOSB is one of the few ways students gain exposure to all of ocean science and related careers as they are beginning to chart their course in life.

The event could not have been completed without the help of local marine science graduate students and local scientists. Thank you!


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