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Ocean Science Team requires intense studying

Posted on Monday, February 2, 2015 by for Media, Ocean Science.

Ocean science is tougher than it seems. With multiple branches of science involved such as Physics, Biology, Environmental Science, Earth Science, and Astronomy, the Ocean Science Team is constantly studying and working hard. Their acquired knowledge is then shown in a regional competition in the late winter followed by national competition in the early spring if they place first in regionals.

The Ocean Science Team consists of many of the school’s top students from sophomores to seniors. Many of them have been on the team for two to three years now. The team looks for people who have an interest in science and who are up for a challenge. Mr. Alan Stack, coach of the team, created the team because the Bay Scallop Bowl caught his attention.

Students are invited to join based on how they can handle an abundant amount of work, their grades, and their attitude. Those who are interested in the team, but aren’t invited, may join as well by an interview with the coaches and a trial period. During the trial period they are with the team for a year and the coaches evaluate their progress on how well they handle the workload. One must be able to keep up with the material taught at the team meetings as well as schoolwork.

"This is a team that requires a lot of dedication and commitment," said Ms. Kimberly Lau, current assistant coach of the team.

The 2015 Midwood Ocean Science Team

The team meets up Tuesdays through Thursdays in room A215. The coaches provide them with different textbooks to cover the many areas of ocean science. During the meetings, team members self-teach and teach each other the material. They create outlines and study sheets based on the textbooks.

"I like how the club works," said Austin Siu ’16 a current member of the team. "Everyone is committed to what they’re doing and it makes me motivated to put in the same amount of effort.

In preparation for the Bay Scallop Bowl regional competition on February 7 at Stony Brook University, the team is working on questions provided by their coaches and vocabulary to test their knowledge. The competitions are a test of speed along with intelligence. They are having mock competitions against each other to see how fast their buzzing skills are and what they need to improve on.

"We try and practice buzzer sessions at least once a week and we have Ms. Lau and Mr. Stack constantly make up new questions for us to answer," said Helen Wong’15, team member for three years and current captain.

For the competition this year the team is split into two, team A and team B. For the first time a B team is created so newer teammates can experience the competition firsthand instead of watching from the crowd. There are four members on each team with one alternative team member each. They race against another team from a different school to see who buzzes in the correct answer first.

"During the competition, I would feel equal parts excited and apprehensive. There’s always a rush when you know the answer to a question and you beat the other team to the buzzer," Wong said.

Last year the Ocean Science Team placed fifth out of 16 schools in the regionals. This year, to improve in the competition, members are well rounded in their knowledge. They all keep up with the same material by reviewing weekly self-made outlines and textbooks together.

"This year instead of having students with different strong points, everyone is well rounded with what they know," Ms. Lau said.

First place in the regionals gives students a ticket to the national competition. First place in nationals gives the students a scholarship to a college with a marine science major. However, many students choose to stay on the team out of sincere interest, for a challenge, as well as to expand their comprehension of ocean science.

Written by Kelly Yuen
This article originally appeared in the January 2015 edition of Argus.