First published in the May 5 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.
Each May since 1985, the Science Olympiad National Tournament has brought students, parents, teachers and volunteers to a college campus to compete in one of the largest and most prestigious Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) competitions in the United States.
While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is preventing qualifying teams from traveling to Caltech for the big event this year, Science Olympiad is honoring the city that would have hosted more than 5,000 of the best and brightest in the nation.
“When the global pandemic began, our Science Olympiad teams stepped up to exhibit character and citizenship in the community, which we call the 3C’s,” said Jenny Kopach, CEO of Science Olympiad. “From organizing food drives to 3D printing face shields for medical workers to tutoring underserved kids, this overwhelming display of thoughtfulness reinforced one of our values: It’s Good to Be Smart, and Smart to be Good.”
To shine a light on the power of charitable giving and service, Science Olympiad is partnering with its 38th annual National Tournament host, Caltech, to address STEM opportunity gaps in the region. Students, parents, teachers and volunteers will be invited to donate to STEAM:CODERS, a nonprofit that teaches logic, critical thinking and problem solving. It also includes Arts in its name.
“STEAM:CODERS is excited about collaborating with Science Olympiad and Caltech, in support of the 2022 Science Olympiad National Tournament,” said STEAM:CODERS Executive Director and Founder Raymond Ealy. “We share the same mission, creating access and opportunity for young people. Together, we are going to make a difference in the lives of students who reside in the greater Los Angeles community. Our motto is: Opportunity + Imagination = Innovation.”
For every $10 received, STEAM:CODERS will be able to provide one hour of math tutoring; $25 covers field trip transportation; $50 pays for a five-week computer science class. Higher donations provide access to science and robotics summer camps.
Many coding volunteers come from the Caltech Y service program, such as Albert Kyi, a Caltech student and co-director of the National Tournament, who said, “We are so proud to have STEAM:CODERS as our Smart to be Good partner and are united in our goal of bringing STEM to students from all walks of life. We hope this partnership allows us to take steps toward making STEM education more equitable and accessible.”
National Tournament co-director and Caltech alum Peter Hung added, “Inspiring underrepresented and underserved students through STEM continues to be a need in our society today. We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Caltech to support STEAM:CODERS in this effort so that our society can be more diverse, robust and resilient.”
A special landing page for the Science Olympiad-giving community will be taking donations until May 14, and can be found on the STEAM:CODERS website.