Science Olympiad showcases growing interests in science, STEM

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 12:06 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2023 at 9:50 PM CDT
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BOTTINEAU, N.D (KMOT) - Students from 20 area schools took over the Dakota College at Bottineau campus Thursday for the Northeast Regional Science Olympiad.

As Crystal Kwaw found out, growing interests in STEM, especially among girls, is leading to more courses at some schools.

Mohall eleventh grader, Lilly Solemsaas, started participating in the science olympiad four years ago.

“One of my sister’s an engineer, so I’ve never really felt like I couldn’t do it or anything,” said Lilly.

For the second year in a row, Lilly and her teammates must design an experiment, use trial and error, and report their findings in less than an hour.

Their coach Shannon Grondahl said when she started teaching at Mohall, the ratio between boys and girls was half and half.

Today, she has more girls.

“They really put their heart and soul into what they’re doing, so I think they really are starting to enjoy sciences a lot more than maybe in the past,” said Grondahl.

Grondahl’s group meets between other after-school activities. She said she saw the hands-on approach working so well that she started a regular STEM class this year.

It lets the students build cars, planes and similar things.

“It makes it more fun for them so they don’t really realize that they’re learning from it and how they change their stuff to make it work,” said Grondahl.

Tracy Chisholm, one of the organizers of the competition, said she been interested in math since she was in middle school.

“It’s fun to see these guys and their interest peak and them get excited about it,” said Chisholm.

Working to develop a love of science in North Dakota’s students.

The state competition is scheduled at North Dakota State University on April 22.