Wichita State University has been chosen to host the 2023 Science Olympiad National Tournament, bringing national STEM notoriety to the university and up to 7,000 visitors and tourists to Wichita.
Approximately 1,800 students from across the United States, Canada and Japan will travel to Wichita State May 18-20, 2023, for the Science Olympiad National Tournament.
“Science Olympiad is a team competition that allows middle school and high school students a chance to learn about STEM areas that they might not get a chance to in their regular classroom setting,” said Jill Fisher, community outreach coordinator for Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the national tournament director. “Competitions involve device-building, testing, lab work and written exams.”
For example, teams might participate in an ornithology event, which includes identification of bird specimens, bird calls, and testing of knowledge of avian diets, habitats and ranges. Testing and lab activities include wet chemistry, identifying unknown liquids and solids, and basic tests with titrations and pH. Physics labs may include electricity or optics.
“Getting the national tournament is a huge deal,” said Dr. Andrew Hippisley, dean of the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “It will associate Wichita State with STEM education at the national level, and the energy such a large flock of eager young minds brings to the campus is going to be amazing. These are the nation’s future students, researchers, inventors, entrepreneurs. Who knows how significant a step on their path this will be for them?”
Students will be accompanied by siblings, designated coaches, parents and extra students from their schools, bringing the expected attendance to between 4,000 and 7,000.
“This is a huge event. The opening program and the competition is usually high energy,” Fisher said. “It’s a great way to wrap up the Science Olympiad season, which starts in September and goes all the way to May.”
Participants will stay in on-campus housing and local hotels during their visit to Wichita. All competitive activities will take place in the Rhatigan Student Center, classroom spaces, Koch Arena and other athletic facilities.
Wichita State first hosted the national competition in 2007. The university has hosted the Kansas Science Olympiad state tournament since 1988.