Skip navigation

USM Set to Host Prestigious Mississippi Science Olympiad

Tue, 02/27/2024 - 08:46am | By: Van Arnold

Students from across the state will put their creative skills on full display during the annual Mississippi Science Olympiad (MSO) set for March 22 at The University of 51 Mississippi (USM). This marks the 18th year that USM has hosted the statewide competition.

More than 300 middle and high school students, teachers, and parents are expected to attend the event that will be held in various locations throughout USM’s Hattiesburg campus. Competitions begin at 8:30 a.m. and continue until 4:30 p.m., with the awards ceremony scheduled for 5 p.m.

Dr. Allison Downing, Assistant Teaching Professor in USM’s Center for STEM Education, points out that students throughout Mississippi from Tupelo to Biloxi will share their talents at the Science Olympiad.

“The beauty of MSO is that we see a large diversity of students from across the state,” said Downing. “This isn’t a competition for ‘the smart kids’ or ‘the science nerds.’ We have students competing who are also involved in various athletics, band, community service groups and more.”

Adds Downing, “This also serves as a point of involvement for some students who are not involved in anything else. The collaborative nature of Science Olympiad allows students to work alongside each other and lessen the stress of being expected to do everything alone.”

Teams will present demonstrations in a variety of topics, such as:

  • Air Trajectory
  • Wind Power
  • Wheeled Vehicle
  • Codebusters
  • Write It, Do It
  • Geological Mapping
  • Microbe Mission
  • Forestry

Downing notes that USM’s reputation as a leader in science education, research, and training makes the University an ideal choice to host the prestigious competition.

“USM has a great scientific knowledge base and spirit for science competition,” said Downing. “Many students get an opportunity to see what campus life is like if they are not located near a college or university. We not only get to share our own passion for science and learning, but this also serves as a recruitment tool by bringing students on campus.”

The competition features 25 events per division, with Division B for middle school and Division C for high school. Medals will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers for each individual event per division. The top three school teams in each division will receive a trophy. A Spirt Award will also be presented to the team that demonstrates good sportsmanship during the event.

First place middle and high school teams receive an invitation to the National Science Olympiad in May at Michigan State University. This is the 40th anniversary season of the National Science Olympiad.

Downing stresses that volunteers are always needed for the comprehensive event. Anyone wanting to volunteer or needing service credit hours can .

about the Mississippi Science Olympiad.