Regional science students compete at YSU


By Elise Mckeown Skolnick

Teams from a dozen area schools vied to go to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl.

YOUNGSTOWN — Gripping buzzers, students from Medina Senior High and Southeast High schools listened carefully to questions being posed. Whispers drifted through the room as the teammates discussed possible answers.

Students from as far away as Louisville, Ky., and State College, Pa., came Saturday to Youngstown State University to show their knowledge of ocean sciences in the seventh annual Penguin Bowl.

Southeast, from Ravenna, was ahead, but Medina wasn’t giving up. During the break, their coach, Rosemary Balsinger, gave them a pep talk. Though they didn’t win the round, they made a comeback, answering some questions correctly.

“It’s a little intimidating, but it’s fun,” said Danielle Valley, 16, of Medina. “We had a comeback. We gained our confidence back.”

In Saturday’s event, 16 teams representing a dozen schools competed in seven rounds. The top eight teams advanced to the single elimination round. Ultimately, two teams competed for the top prize: an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete against teams from 24 other regions in the 12th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl.

The NOSB is a program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. The goal of the NOSB is to interest students in the ocean sciences as a college major and potential career.

“So much emphasis in competition is based on athletics whereas this is an academic competition, and I like that students can get rewarded,” said Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer, NOSB regional coordinator who started the event in this area.

Though the students who participate in the NOSB are high school students, the questions are based on freshman- and sophomore-level college material about oceans and the Great Lakes, he said.

“So we have high school kids studying college-level material to prepare for the competition, which is pretty cool.”

It’s an opportunity for Heather Moser’s Beaver High School team to do something that extends their knowledge of science, she said.

“Also, I think that having an opportunity like this really lights a fire under some kids, where just the content they get in class may or may not,” the coach said. “But when they get to do something above and beyond what we’re able to do in the school day a few of them really kind of take off.”

Back for a second year with the Beaver team, Sarra Koresen, 16, said, “It’s fun. I get to try new things.”

Each year, the event alternates between YSU and the Pittsburgh Zoo, a partner in the project.

State College High School, State College, Pa., prevailed to win the event. The team will go on to compete in Washington, D.C., against 24 other regional teams.

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