ASMSA team wins marine science competition

1 year ago

No ocean nearby? No problem.

A team from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts won the Dolphin Challenge, the northern Texas regional competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl.

NOSB is a quiz bowl-style competition in which students answer questions in all disciplines of ocean sciences: biology, chemistry, physics, geology, geography and the social sciences. It is managed national by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. The competition was held Saturday by the Texas Sea Grant College Program at the Texas A&M University campus in Galveston, Texas.

Two teams from ASMSA participated in the competition. ASMSA’s “Team A” won the competition and will advance to the NOSB competition finals to be held April 20-23 in Corvallis, Ore. Team members included Tristan Tompkins of Springdale, Jason Ly of Jonesboro, Rebecca Parham of Alma, Juliet Green of Malvern and Will Duke of Pine Bluff. The team is coached by Dr. Lindsey Waddell, a chemistry and geoscience instructor at ASMSA.

NOSB is designed to encourage and support the next generation of marine scientists, policy makers, teachers, explorers, researchers, technicians and informed citizens to be stewards of the ocean. About 2,000 students from more than 300 high schools around the country participate each year.

Waddell said the trip to Galveston to compete in the Dolphin Challenge serves as the “capstone experience” for students who have completed her semester-long oceanography course. She said this is the first year one of her teams has earned a trip to the national competition during her five years of serving as a coach. ASMSA took second place at the Dolphin Challenge last year.

“This is one of the strongest teams that I have coached in terms of their overall math and science preparation,” Waddell said. “And thanks to the ASMSA Global Learning Program, two of the team members were even able to study marine biology in Belize with Dr. James Engman of Henderson State University over the summer.”

ASMSA competed in the northern Texas regional because Arkansas does not host a regional competition. Schools in states without a regional NOSB competition may compete in the one closet to their school. The national competition will be held at Oregon State University in Corvallis. Oregon State is part of the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center.

“The finals competition should be an amazing experience with field trip opportunities related to this year’s competition theme which is ‘Blue Energy: Powering the Planet with Our Ocean,’” Waddell said. “We are looking forward to being able to tour their research facilities and learn about the latest developments in renewable marine energy technology.”

Waddell said that to her knowledge, ASMSA is the only Arkansas team to compete in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, but that she hopes that changes in the future as more teachers learn about the program.

“NOSB is a great motivation for students to learn about ocean processes, resources and policy, which should matter to everyone, not just those who reside in a coastal state,” she said.

Texas Sea Grant is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the State of Texas and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Texas. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Texas Sea Grant is a non-academic research center in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. The program’s mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.

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