Kovac to Direct 2009 Tennessee Science Olympiad

Jeffrey KovacJeffrey Kovac, professor of chemistry, has been appointed director of the Tennessee Science Olympiad State Tournament which will be held on campus on March 28, 2009. Kovac also serves as Director of the Tennessee Governor’s Schools for Science and Engineering.

UT Knoxville has been sponsoring the Science Olympiad State Tournament since 1994. Sponsoring the Tennessee Science Olympiad State Tournament is one way the University of Tennessee is encouraging student interest and abilities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Student teams in middle schools and high schools across Tennessee compete in regional tournaments. Winners of the eight regional tournaments advance to compete at the State Tournament in Knoxville. From the state competition, winners advance to the national competition.

In the 2008 State Tournament, 18 teams in each of the two divisions (B-middle schools) and C-high schools) competed in 23 different academic events. There are 15 students in each team. There were 791 participants on campus including students, coaches and involved parents. Following the tournament, an awards ceremony was held in the James R. Cox Auditorium where medals and trophies were awarded to students and teams.

In Division C (high school teams), Martin Luther King Magnet High School (Nashville, Tennessee) took first place; Oak Ridge High School (Oak Ridge, Tennessee) took second place; and Montgomery Bell Academy (Nashville, Tennessee) took third place.

In Division B (middle school teams), Bearden Middle School (Knoxville, Tennessee) won first place; Friendship Christian Academy (Lebanon, Tennessee) was the second place winner; and, Ross N. Robinson Middle School (Kingsport, Tennessee) placed third.

Martin Luther King Magnet High School (Division C) and Bearden Middle School (Division B) advanced to represent the state of Tennessee in the National Tournament held in Washington, D.C. May 30-31, 2008. The George Washington University hosted the 2008 national tournament.

Kovac expects an increase in the number of participants in the 2009 tournament due to efforts by UT and the State Science Olympiad State Board to recruit and nurture new teams.

The State Tournament is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences Office of Academic Outreach, with support from UT/ORNL Science Alliance, the College of Engineering, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

In addition to providing funds, the supporting colleges provide facilities for the competition and also provide faculty and graduate students to serve as coordinators for the events.

For more information about the Science Olympiad, visit http://soinc.org/.