Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE — Kelly Nicholas, a senior at Oak Ridge High School who has earned gold in her past two Science Olympiad events, will take on three categories this year: astronomy, fossils and experimental design.

“I love science and I really like competing,” Nicholas said. “It’s really fun to learn new areas of science that we don’t usually learn in school.”

Thirty-six middle and high school teams from across the state will compete in the Tennessee Science Olympiad State Tournament on Saturday April 2 hosted by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Competitions will be held from 7:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. in Nielson Physics, Buehler Hall, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Hesler Biology, HPER Courts A and D, Estabrook, Walters Life Sciences and the Carolyn P. Brown Memorial University Center. The awards ceremony begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Cox Auditorium in the Alumni Memorial Building.

There are multiple events in earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, computers and technology. Teams will compete in a variety of events, with challenges such as constructing a vehicle that uses electrical energy as its sole means of propulsion, identifying the perpetrators of a crime, modeling proteins, and designing a robot that will attempt to move an opponent’s robot from the ring.

“Science Olympiad is a wonderful way to get middle and high school students interested in science and engineering,” said Kovac, director of the tournament and a professor of chemistry. “The competition stimulates them to understand these subjects more deeply and to develop new skills. The State Tournament is a way for the University of Tennessee to work with teachers to improve science education around the state.”

Bearden Middle School, Oak Ridge High School and Farragut High School are among the local participants.

The 2011 state tournament is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences with support from the UT/ORNL Science Alliance, the College of Engineering and the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

First place winners at the middle and high school levels will earn trophies, medals and financial support to compete in the 27th annual Science Olympiad National Tournament May 18 — 21 at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

For more information, including a detailed schedule and list of participating schools, please visit An information desk also will be available inside the University Center’s Brown Lounge.

If you wish to cover the event, Lynn Champion, director of academic outreach and communications for the office of the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will be on site to coordinate interviews. She can be reached at 865-680-8196.

C O N T A C T :

Lynn Champion (865-680-8196,

Whitney Holmes (865-974-5460,