In January, the Florida Science Olympiad Northern Regional competition will be hosted at UF for the first time.
The tournament brings in more than 300 middle and high school contestants and pushes students to find their passion for science, said Mohona Ahmed, the co-director for UF’s Science Olympiad chapter. The tournament consists of 23 different events in science, technology, engineering and math.
Ahmed, one of the seven freshmen and sophomores chosen to plan the event, said she fell in love with the tournament in high school, skipping her graduation ceremony to attend the national competition in 2017.
“Our goal for this regional tournament is to be the competition that we would want to attend,” the 18-year-old UF materials science and engineering freshman said.
Kevin Hao, a UF mechanical engineering freshman and the founder of the UF chapter of Science Olympiad, said he’s nervous, but excited, about planning the competition.
“This tournament is probably the biggest project I’ve ever undertaken,” the 18-year-old said.
Hao is a Science Olympiad five-time regional and state champion and a four-time national medalist.
Hao said it will help the contestants to know the director has been in their shoes before. He said the most important part about the tournament is learning more about science.
“They put a lot of pressure on themselves to succeed,” he said. “But at the end of the day, everybody is winning.”