News and Notes

Local School Teams Compete in Michigan Science Olympiad State Tournament

Michigan Science Olympiad State Tournament

Teams from 96 schools statewide participated in the State Tournament of the Michigan Science Olympiad in April 2013.

More than 400 high school and middle school teams competed at regional competitions during February and March, resulting in 96 teams being selected to compete at the state tournament on the MSU campus. Forty-six competitions were focused on a broad range of scientific topics, including experimental design, thermodynamics, remote sensing, chemistry, astronomy, technical problem solving, and forensics.

The 2013 tournament featured a new engineering event for both high school and middle school teams. The Rotor Egg Drop required middle school team members to construct an unpowered, autorotation helicopter device using one or more helicopter rotors to safely transport a raw chicken egg from a specified height to the floor. The high school competitors constructed a self-propelled magnetically-levitated vehicle with battery powered rotors that turned two propellers to move the vehicle down a magnetic track. The Michigan Department of Transportation supported this event statewide with the placement of specially designed tracks for the cars to be tested in schools and regional tournaments.

The top two overall tournament winners in each division, and runner-up teams from each division, competed in the National Science Olympiad Tournament in May.

The 2013 tournament marked the 31st anniversary of the Michigan Science Olympiad, part of an event that is one of the premier science competitions for middle school and high school youth across the United States. Science Olympiad tournaments are rigorous academic competitions for which students and their coaches and volunteers prepare during the entire year. In Michigan, participation has increased from 600 students in the first event 31 years ago to over two million currently.

The Michigan Science Olympiad State Tournament is jointly sponsored by the Office of the Associate Provost for University Outreach and Engagement at MSU and the Dart Foundation.

Awards and Honors

The Ford Motor Company Fund has awarded $225,000 in Ford College Community Challenge grants to nine colleges and universities in support of service-learning on college campuses. MSU was one of the nine winners, with a grant to support students in the College of Engineering to develop and test a teaching module, software libraries, and cloud support to enable Lansing, Michigan area students to create Java programs that gather information about local energy usage.

Associate Provost for University Outreach and Engagement Hiram E. Fitzgerald was recognized in March 2013 at the Kellogg-Paolucci Lecture for his pioneering research on infant mental health in underrepresented groups using ground-breaking, community-based participatory research methodologies.

In May 2013, MSU Federal Credit Union and the Residential College in Arts and Humanities announced the first winner of the MSUFCU-RCAH Dean's Choice Award for Innovations in Civic Engagement. Emily Nott, a RCAH student pursuing a bachelor of fine arts degree in art education, was recognized for fostering innovation using the arts and humanities in community settings.


  • Karen McKnight Casey, director of the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, retired in June 2013. McKnight Casey was responsible for facilitating service-based learning and civic engagement opportunities for MSU students. She also served as adjunct with the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and as field instructor in the School of Social Work. She won a Distinguished Service Award from Michigan Campus Compact in 2013.
  • Gary Morgan, MSU Museum director, returned to his native Australia in August 2013. As director of the Museum, Morgan was an energetic advocate for expanding the scope and range of museum programs. In addition to helping build a core museum education team, he initiated programs and partnerships with MSU colleges and departments, including a number of innovative technologies to enhance the visitor experience. Lora Helou, the Museum's associate director, has been appointed interim director.
  • Celeste Sturdevant Reed, evaluator and engagement specialist with the Community Evaluation and Research Collaborative, retired in June 2013. During her tenure at MSU, Reed worked on youth development, culture and arts, early childhood, community problem-solving, evaluation, and professional development efforts. Most of those efforts focused on building the capacity of evaluation partners.
  • Susan L. Sheth has been appointed as the new director of Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) programs at MSU. Sheth is a doctoral student at the University of Toledo with an emphasis on gifted and talented individuals. She has taught at the University of Michigan — Dearborn. Both Sheth and GATE joined University Outreach and Engagement in September 2013.
  • Renee Miller Zientek is the new director of the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, effective July 2013. As executive director of Michigan Campus Compact, Zientek worked effectively with over 40 presidents of colleges and universities in Michigan as well as the national Campus Compact. She earned a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan - Flint and an M.A. in American Cultural Studies from the University of Michigan.

Like this Magazine? Join our mailing list