PennWest’s Clarion and California campuses will welcome 650 middle and high school students when they host regional tournaments in the Pennsylvania Science Olympiad this spring. The campuses were chosen for their excellent facilities and central locations in their respective regions.

Clarion previously hosted the Northwestern Regional tournament; it will return to Clarion Feb. 24. The Northwestern Region comprises the counties of Butler, Cameron, Clarion, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Venango and Warren. Dr. Brandon Packard, who is organizing the Clarion tournament, said he expects 250 middle and high school students to be on campus that day.

California, which has hosted the Southwestern Regional tournament for many years, will again welcome teams March 16 from the counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland. California will welcome about 400 students to campus. Organizers at California are Dr. Steven Brooks, Dr. Candice Riley and Dr. Matt Price.

“PennWest students are crucial volunteers to the success of this event. PennWest students will help to administer the events; aid in scoring tabulation; and help navigate competing students and their coaches and families around campus,” Brooks said. “We anticipate 50-plus student volunteers from across all PennWest colleges. Typically, members of our student clubs volunteer for this event, especially those focused on science or education.” 

In each tournament, students will compete in two divisions: Division B for grades 6-9 and Division C for grades 9-12 (grade 9 can compete in either division). PennWest is not hosting Division A tournaments. The top-performing teams are eligible to advance to the state tournament.

Science Olympiad is an international nonprofit organization devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science, and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education. Science Olympiad tournaments are rigorous academic interscholastic competitions that consist of a series of individual and team events, for which students prepare during the year. These challenging and motivational events are well balanced among the various science disciplines of biology, earth science, chemistry, engineering, physics and computers. Events balance students’ knowledge of science facts, concepts, process skills and science applications.