Students coaching 2021 West Virginia Science Olympiad team in national competition

Ten Marshall University students are helping coach 15 students from Cabell Midland High School as they prepare for the 2021 National Science Olympiad competition, which will be held virtually May 21-22 from Arizona State University.

The virtual coaching opportunity is made possible by a grant from the NASA WV Space Grant Consortium. The Cabell Midland team, under the leadership of teacher Brian McNeel, is the 2021 West Virginia State Championship Science Olympiad team.

Marshall’s 10 student coaches are all predominantly from either Marshall University’s chapter of the Society of Physics Students or the Science Olympiad student organization on campus. Serving as coaching mentors are Dr. Sean McBride, faculty advisor to Marshall’s chapter of the Society of Physics Students and co-state director for the West Virginia Science Olympiad, as well as Dr. Sachiko McBride, faculty advisor for the Marshall University Science Olympiad student organization and state director for the West Virginia Science Olympiad. They will work with the student coaches to help schedule time slots when the undergraduate coaches and high school students meet virtually.

For the STEM-focused virtual national competition, different members of the WVSO team will focus on different events, and Marshall’s 10 student coaches will prepare them for diverse areas of content. The event categories that the student coaches are currently planning to assist with are Anatomy and Physiology, Astronomy, Chemistry Lab, Circuit Lab, Sound of Music, Codebusters, Water Quality, Forensics, Protein Modeling, and Fossils.  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, they will predominantly work on exam preparation, as many hands-on and face-to-face events are not permitted in this year’s competition.

“This is a great opportunity for the students from both student organizations to help out the surrounding community,” Sean McBride said. “Some of the undergraduate student coaches themselves have participated in Science Olympiad as high school students and this is a great way for them to transfer their knowledge, skills and experiences.”

It will be a great experience for the students at Marshall and Cabell Midland High School, Sachiko McBride said.

“Our students are very excited to support the CMHS team,” she said. “We all have the same goal–to support the CMHS team and help them excel in the national tournament.”

This opportunity for Science Olympiad coaching was made possible by the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Grant # 80NSSC20M0055. For more information about participating in the West Virginia Science Olympiad in the future, e-mail ScienceOlympiad@marshall.edu.