May 25, 2024

Olympiad Sparks STEM Interests, Showcases UMW

Auvai Ramalingam, 15, (left) and Chris Kang, 16, (right) of McLean High School participate in the Mousetrap Vehicle competition of the Virginia Science Olympiad held at UMW on Saturday.

Take a mousetrap, build a vehicle around it, and develop a means by which activation of the trap propels the vehicle forward to reach a designated target.

Oh – and work with 14 other students all focusing on and fiddling with one mousetrap.

Mousetrap Vehicle was just one of dozens of challenges facing 44 teams of Northern Virginia high school, middle school and elementary school students who descended upon the University of Mary Washington campus on Saturday. UMW hosted the 2020 Virginia Science Olympiad (VASO) regional qualifying round.

A total of 550 students, along with their coaches and parents, participated in events such as The Sounds of Music, Boomilevers and Ping-Pong Parachute. The latter, which took place in the Hurley Convergence Center lobby, involved using two bottle rockets to lauch a ping-pong ball attached to a parachute. Most of the events took advantage of labs and other spaces in the newly updated Jepson Science Center. Read more.

About Anna Billingsley

Anna B. Billingsley, associate vice president for university relations, has worked at UMW since 2004.