By Michelle Xu
The Orange County Science and Engineering Fair Board joined together with OC Science to host the OCSEF Youth Leadership Conference on Dec. 13th. The event was consisted of two parts: talks from prestigious speakers like USA IMO coach Po-Shen Loh and the Science and Engineering Research Bowl. Different students from different schools all across Orange County we invited to this event.
The event kicked off with a school roll call by emcee Neah Lekan, the Marketing and Publicity Lead Link of OC Science. After all the schools cheered in enthusiasm when their names were called, the first speaker, Mark Hobbs, was invited to the stage.
Mark Hobbs, the Director of Registration of OCSEF, gave a speech on science fairs. He went through all the steps of how to do a science project, and gave the students examples of what to do and what not to do.
After Mark Hobbs finished his presentation, a team of volunteers passed out paper and pencil tests for the preliminary round of the Science and Engineering Research Bowl to each middle school and high school team. Each school consisted of a team of five students, and the top four schools determined by the preliminary test would move on to the final round, which is structured like the Mathcounts Countdown Round.
As each team progressed through the challenging questions, there was no doubt that teammates bonded with each other. Due to the short amount of time allotted for the test, the teams resorted to splitting up the test. After the time was up, the proctors collected the tests, the participants nervously waited for the results, and the next speaker was invited up to the stage.
Modesto Llanos is the vice-president of the Orange County Chapter of Engineers Without Borders, a nonprofit organization. Llanos broadened the students’ views on the work engineers were doing around the world. For example, he talked about the sanitation systems in Mexico and the Honduras.
Professor Po-Shen Loh, the USA International Math Olympiad coach, talked about his journey through mathematics. He talked about how he became addicted to solving “impossible” problems, and how that was important in his career and success. His dedication brought him to become the coach of the USA Math Olympiad team, where he works with some of the brightest minds in the world. Not only do the students learn new knowledge from him, but he also learns a lot from the students.
When Professor Po-Shen Loh was finished with his presentation, Neah took the stage again to announce the much anticipated results of the preliminary Science and Engineering Research bowl competition. The middle schools that advanced were Rancho San Joaquin Middle School, Serrano Middle School, South Lake Middle School, and Fairmont Private School. The high schools that advanced were Beckman High School, Troy High School, Irvine High School, and Los Alamitos High School.
Neah and OC Science Education Lead Link Michelle Xu read the science questions out loud, and the first team who rang the bell would get a chance to answer. The rounds were best out of three, and in the end, Rancho San Joaquin MS won the middle school competition and Beckman HS won the high school competition.
No matter how well their teams did, all the participants gained new insights on the world of STEM. “The OCSEF conference was very informative, and I really enjoyed both the competitions and the speeches,” says Sara Du, a member of the Beckman team.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Youth Leadership Conference on December 13th! Congratulations to the following winners:
Serrano Middle School
Fairmont Middle School Delegation I
Southlake Middle School Delegation I
Grand Prize Winner: Rancho San Joaquin Middle School
Troy High School
Los Alamitos High School
Irvine High School
Grand Prize Winner: Arnold O. Beckman High School