The Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America (AESA) hosted the 16th annual Science Olympiad at California State University, Northridge for Armenian students grades six through 12.
The AESA Science Olympiad, organized by the AESA Science Olympiad Committee (SOC), is an opportunity for young Armenians to showcase their scientific skills by producing science projects and working with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals.
For several years in a row, this event was in the University Student Union at the Grand Salon. This year, the AESA SOC collaborated with CSUN’s Armenian Students Association (ASA) to invite the Armenian community to a Science Olympiad at CSUN’s Northridge Center.
Biayna Ayvazian, president of CSUN’s ASA, indicated that this year’s event was different from those of past years in three ways.
“It is the first year that the AESA collaborated with CSUN’s Armenian Students Association, Armenian faculty and other staff members to successfully co-host the event,” said Ayvazian. “[Secondly], the students were paired with professionals in the science fields. [Thirdly], this year’s Olympiad also featured educational sessions for the parents to keep them engaged in the event as well.”
Svetlana Arutyunova, co-chair of AESA SO Committee, said hosting this event at CSUN could be useful to parents and students in getting to know more about CSUN and that AESA SOC hopes to work more closely with CSUN faculty and CSUN ASA for future events.
“We at SOC are also grateful to the AERO team and Engineering Department for accepting our invitation to display their airplane model. Our hopes are that CSUN ASA members and CSUN faculty, especially from STEM fields, would take on an increasing role in mentoring Amernian students in the future,” Arutyunova said.
The event organizers wanted attendees to gain a newfound appreciation for STEM fields, according to Ayvazian.
“[We wanted] everyone to see potential that exists in STEM fields and how [these fields] can contribute to even larger findings someday,” Ayvazian said. “There were exhibitions on display to the public that showed all the wonderful inventions that would not be possible without sciences.”
Ayvazian also pointed out that she was happy about the level of interaction, engagement and confidence the students showed.
“The students all appeared nervous until the moment the judges arrived to their table, after which it was a delight to see each of them confidently discuss and present all of their hard work,” Ayvazian said.
Although there were prizes awarded by AESA SOC to the winning students for their best projects, Ayvazian felt all students were winners in her eyes, because they got out of their comfort zone, developed vital networking and public speaking skills, and educated themselves on topics outside the classroom curriculum.
Arutyunova said she hopes to contribute to the Armenian community by establishing connections between schools and STEM professionals through AESA. She also hopes that CSUN faculty and CSUN ASA work closely with the AESA SO Committee by the AESA Science Olympiad 2018 event.
Those interested in more information are welcome to visit the AESA Science Olympiad website.