GENIUS environmental competition to draw global finalists

The SUNY Oswego GENIUS Olympiad finals open Monday, June 17, welcoming more than 400 competitors and their mentors from around the world, including Kayla Vidal and Bilgenur Sirin of the Syracuse Academy of Science.

Syracuse Academy of Science students working on water quality research“We are very excited for the Oswego competition,” said the charter school juniors, who studied the effects on Lake Ontario water quality of fireworks shows at events such as Harborfest.

They will join high school student scientists, artists, writers and designers invited from 58 countries and 36 states at opening ceremonies at 8 p.m. June 17 in the SUNY Oswego’s Campus Center arena, one of several events that are free and open to the public during the weeklong environmentally themed competition. An exhibition of all the projects will precede the ceremonies, from 6 to 7:45 p.m.

“We have been to various (science) competitions, and we are always excited to meet other students and see their projects,” said Vidal and Sirin, who will be joined by four other Syracuse Academy of Science competitors at the GENIUS finals.

Dr. Fehmi Damkaci of SUNY Oswego, founder and organizer of the GENIUS Olympiad, said finalists this year come from Mozambique and Germany, Pakistan and Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan and Tanzania, among other locations. In the third year of the competition, participants’ work continues to span a variety of disciplines and means of exploring environmental concerns.

“We decided to organize a fair focused around environmental issues and solutions,” Damkaci said. “In order to solve environmental issues and communicate their solutions, we need the collaboration of several disciplines, including science, arts and engineering.”

Public invited

Besides Sirin’s and Vidal’s “The Effect of Fireworks on Water Quality of Lake Ontario,” some of the titles of projects in this year’s finals include “Smart Windows: New Template Synthesis of Thin Nickel Hydroxide Film for Electrochromic Devices” from Ukrainian student Polina Kovalenko, “Hygienic Improvement for Laboratory Animal Cage Using Bacterial Metabolic Waste” by Soo Yeon Kim of South Korea and “Man vs. Microbes and Insects! The War Ends Now: Moringer Oleifera to the Rescue” from Agbadudu Eseoghene of Nigeria.

Science projects compete in categories such as human ecology, environmental quality, resource and energy, and ecology and biodiversity. Finalists also include students working in essay, short story and poetry; photography, short film, satirical illustration and poster design; architectural and interior environmental design; and, new this year, a city category for partnering with municipalities to solve environmental problems.

National Grid has joined GENIUS Olympiad this year as platinum sponsor, partnering with SUNY Oswego and Terra Science and Education Foundation.

“National Grid is thrilled to work with SUNY Oswego and the Terra Science and Education Foundation on such a meaningful program that delivers a positive impact on the lives of students, their families, and educators alike,” said Melanie Littlejohn, regional executive of National Grid’s Central New York division. “National Grid looks to support programs like this to help inspire the next generation of scientists, artists, writers and designers and to look at innovative solutions for environmental sustainability. Congratulations to all the competitors in this year’s GENIUS Olympiad.”

Other sponsors include the C&S Companies, Pathfinder Bank, SRC Inc., Destiny USA and Ricoh.

Additional public events during the GENIUS Olympiad include a symposium from 1 to 3:30 p.m. June 18 in the Campus Center auditorium; an international fair, with many participants in native dress, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 18 in the Campus Center arena; a college fair from 9 to 11 a.m. June 20 on the Campus Center concourse; and the awards ceremony from 1:15 to 3 p.m. June 20 in the Campus Center arena.

Parking for those attending GENIUS Olympiad events is available in the large residential, employee and commuter lots south of Hart and Funnelle residence halls; there will be limited parking in Lot 1, an employee lot west of Mary Walker Health Center.

GENIUS finalists and their mentors also will tour Niagara Falls and Destiny USA, and many will follow up the competition with tours of Washington, D.C., and New York City.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Science in action—Syracuse Academy of Science juniors Bilgenur Sirin, right, and Kayla Vidal work recently on their experiment, “The Effect of Fireworks on Water Quality of Lake Ontario,” in preparation for competition in the SUNY Oswego GENIUS Olympiad finals June 17-20. The two students will be among the hundreds of young scientists, artists, writers and designers, along with their mentors, arriving in Oswego for the global environmental competition.

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(Posted: Jun 10, 2013)

Tags: genius olympiad, education pipeline