February 2022

Getting Ready for Virtual Physics Olympics

Last year we decided to conduct UBC Physics Olympics virtually. It was the choice we had to make in order to make the Olympics happen. Despite all the challenges more than 40 teams participated and the event went very well.

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However, surprisingly (at least to me), very few teams from outside of the Lower Mainland took part in the event. Since the transportation was not an issue, why then our outreach was not able to reach to the remote communities? We are organizing the Physics Olympics this year virtually once again and it looks like we have few remote teams once again… So it tells me that the issue might not be the transportation, but there are some other reasons why we fail to engage students in remote communities. I think the students who live in these communities are as capable to participate in our event, but they need to know about it and they need support. So, while thinking about it, I am wondering, how can we create a mentorship network for our outreach events so the students from all the province can participate? This is the challenge I am thinking about now. I hope that what we have learned in the last two years with online education, technologies for online and remote teaching will translate to higher engagement in science. This is my personal goal for 2022 – to expand our outreach efforts to all over BC and to create networking and mentorship for the students in remote communities.

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