Mason Hosts USA Biology Olympiad

Posted: June 11, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Ryann Doyle

For the sixth year in a row, Mason is hosting the USA Biology Olympiad, a competition in biology for high school students that was launched in 2002 by the Center of Excellence in Education.

The mission of the USABO is to encourage young scholars to pursue careers of excellence and leadership in science and technology. The focus is to stimulate high school students’ intellectual curiosity and develop their critical thinking skills in biology reasoning.

β€œThe USA Biology Olympiad aims to improve the quality of biology classes for all students β€” especially in the critically important area of lab skills β€” to propel American high school students and their teachers to reach the gold standard,” says Joann DiGennaro, president and cofounder of the Center for Excellence in Education.

The USABO includes four tiers of competition: a nationwide open exam, a more rigorous semifinal exam, the national finals, and the International Biology Olympiad.

The competition is open to all U.S. high school students who receive a nomination from their teacher. The nationwide exam is distributed each February, and the top 10 percent continue on to take the two-hour, semifinal exam, consisting of multiple choice and short answer questions.

The 21 students with the highest scores on the semifinal exam continue to the national finals. The finalists go through two weeks of intensive theoretical and practical tutorials with leading U.S. biologists.

At the closing ceremonies on June 12, the four members of the International Biology Olympiad team will be announced. In July, the USA team will travel to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, and join students from 50 other nations.

The USA Biology Olympiad teams have achieved great success at the International competitions. In 2004, the U.S. team brought home four gold medals. All of the U.S. team members have medaled at the international competition.

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