EEPS Supports Rice’s 4th Annual Science Olympiad Invitational

Rice undergraduates Annelise Goldman and Muthu Chidambaram talking with a participant of the Rice Science Olympiad Invitational “Sounds of Music” science event on January 18, 2020.

Three Rice undergraduates including EEPS own Annelise Goldman with the Rice University Science Olympiad Alumni Association (Rice SOAA) hosted the 4th consecutive Science Olympiad Invitational on January 18, 2020.

Rice undergraduates Alan Jin (co-president), Muthu Chidambaram (co-president), Annelise Goldman (vice president) managed a challenging set of science events that attracted 525 high school students from 36 teams from 21 high schools across the U.S.


Approximately 45 volunteers, mostly Rice undergraduate members of Rice SOAA, some graduate students and Rice Alumni, wrote and graded tests, proctored exams and managed science events. Nearly all the volunteers put in a long day starting with the arrival of visitors before 8 a.m. and concluding with the awards ceremony in the RMC Grand Hall around 8 p.m.

“I think it was a great science outreach effort for Rice, connecting with the greater Houston (and far beyond in some cases) community,” says says Dr. Richard Gordon, Keck Professor of Geophysics in the department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences and faculty sponsor of Rice SOAA.

This is the second Rice University Science Olympiad for Sophomore Annelise Goldman, who volunteered in 2018 and then joined the organizing committee in 2019. She went from writing one exam her first year, to writing three exams and helping to manage all the 2020 event activities. But this isn’t her first brush with Science Olympiad.

Annelise has been participating since middle school. “I am a long-term fan. At my middle school it was really competitive. At the time I thought that science was really cool, but was like, ‘I’m not a person who’s cut out to do science’. But my mom suggested I try out anyway, to see if I might like it.” Like it she did, going on to participate throughout high school.

Science Olympiad is the reason why she is a science major at Rice.

Annelise Goldman evaluates one of the student-built instruments submitted for the “Sounds of Music” event at the 2020 Rice Science Olympiad Invitational.

Now she is giving back to the program that brought her where she is today. “I’m very grateful to this program for inspiring me and introducing me to different fields. I wanted to help other students have a similar experience,” says Goldman.

Science Olympiad invitationals are practical competitions that help Science Olympiad teams from across the country prepare for regional and national competitions. Invitational events are themselves competitive among host schools. Universities seek to not only provide high quality exams that lure nationally ranked teams, but to expose those “elite” students to what the host University has to offer.

Science Olympiad Invitationals also include key-note lectures by host institution faculty that connect and inform students about careers in science. This year’s key-note speaker was EEPS own assistant professor Dr. Sylvia Dee, who shared her pathway to science, the impact of her research, and the variety of careers available to scientists.

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