Oak Ridge High School took first place in this year’s Department of Energy Tennessee Science Bowl, held Saturday at Pellissippi State Community College’s Blount County campus.
Saturday’s achievement marked back-to-back wins for Oak Ridge High School at the annual competition. A press release from the DOE Office of Science states the winning students received a trophy and $1,000 cash prize, and will get an all-expenses-paid trip to the DOE National Science Bowl from April 26-30 in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Jim Vosburg, senior vice president and director of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, said ORISE contracts with the DOE to manage the annual science bowl.
He said teams from all across the state participate in the science bowl, which is a good opportunity for students to learn more about jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.
“(At) ORISE, one of our main functions is to identify and place STEM talent at national labs nationwide,” Vosburg told The Daily Times. “It exposes those high school kids to ORISE and the DOE.”
This year’s event saw 59 high school teams from across the state participate to test their knowledge in broad science disciplines including chemistry, biology, physics and energy. Vosburg said questions posed to the students run the gamut.
“All areas of science,” Vosburg said. “Hard science and soft science. So they have to be very well prepared.”
Among the teams to participate were Alcoa High School, Heritage High School, Maryville High School and STEM Co-op of Maryville.
“I believe this year we’ve had the most amount of students since the inception,” Vosburg said.
The Tennessee Science Bowl is the nation’s third largest regional competition, the DOE Office of Science said. It’s been an annual competition since the early 1990s.
Cash prizes and trophies were also awarded to the following schools:
• Signal Mountain High School, for second place ($750);
• White Station High School, for third place ($500);
• and Cookeville High School, for fourth place ($250).
The Civility Award, given each year to the team with the best sportsmanship throughout the competition, was awarded to Central High School in Knoxville. They received $100 and a trophy.
DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory Site Office Manager Johnny Moore said the science bowl “is not just about winning.”
“These teams are demonstrating that their passion for the sciences is a commitment, and their dreams of future careers in science will soon be realized,” Moore said in the release. “In fact, many of these students will go on to become our country’s science and technology leaders, and that’s something DOE strongly believes is worth investing in.”
Major sponsors of the Tennessee Science Bowl include the DOE-Office of Science, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, ORISE and Pellissippi State Community College.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC and the Radio Systems Corporation have also provided major financial support, according to the release.