The (exceptionally) early morning departure and lengthy bus ride failed to deter thirteen hardy MHS students who set out to compete in March in the 2017 Northeast Science Bowl.
For the fifth time, Miss Hall’s competed in the New England Regional Tournament, Northern Division, held at the University of Connecticut. In all, more than 600 students from around New England participated, forming nearly 100 quiz teams competing from nearly 50 schools. MHS was the only all-girls school attending the event, which is sponsored by the UConn School of Engineering, Gerber Scientific, and UTC Power, a division of United Technologies.
Miss Hall’s sent two quiz teams to this year’s competition. Quiz Team A was captained by Julia Baron ’17 and included Artemis Fraine ’17, Vivian Hou ’18, Ngoc Tram Nguyen ’18, and Christy Liang ’20. Quiz Team B was captained by Jenna Crosier ’17 and included Michela Laurin ’18, Amy Qian ’18, Marisa Powell ’19, Ria Kedia ’20, Meredith Hall ’20, and Emma Kotelnicki ’20. Riagain Wiley ’20 also attended, both as a fan and as a late-round substitute for exhausted participants. Chemistry Teacher Lee Blackmer served as a team’s advisor, confidante, and logistics coordinator, while Science Department Chair Ed Eckel was the faculty advisor, bus driver, and cheerleader.
The quiz competition is formatted as timed games of short-answer and multiple-choice questions in team format. Toss-up questions test individual knowledge, and bonus questions test group collaboration. All areas of science and math are included, with emphasis on traditional high school science topics through the Advanced Placement level. Reports Mr. Eckel:
“The girls had a really good time amusing each other and opposing teams with antics relishing the fun of a day devoted to science. The A team had the challenge of being in the toughest morning division and was not able to advance to the double-elimination rounds. The B team learned how much they knew and how to use information in the questions to reason their way to a better answer. More importantly, everyone discovered through public statements that not trying (for fear of making a mistake) leads to harder-to-overcome regret than does trying and not succeeding. Thus, a lot of great experience was earned by our team!”
The girls certainly enjoyed the event—despite the early departure. “I think hanging out with my teammates is the best part, especially on the bus in the early morning,” noted Quiz Team B Captain Jenna Crosier, who has been on the team for three years. “While we didn't really win any of our matches, everyone had a good time and answered a lot of questions.” Christy Liang, a newcomer to the team, concurred. “To me, being with my teammates is the best part of it,” said Christy. “I had never done Science Bowl before, but it just sounded fun. I am just very interested in science in general. I particularly enjoy math and chemistry, because these are the two subjects I am best at. Earth and space is also a fun subject, and I am trying to learn more in that area.”
For Meredith Hall, the camaraderie of the team was a primary benefit. “My favorite part about participating in Science Bowl was definitely that I was surrounded by people who I shared a common interest with,” Meredith said. “As stressful as the preparation and actual competition was, it was really fun to be with people who are just as interested in science as I am.” Meredith’s favorite subject is astronomy. “There's still so much unknown and every time I learn about a new star or element of a solar system it's fascinating,” said Meredith, another team newcomer this year. “I was inspired to join after being told how it's a nice combination of competition and fun.”