Team Neptune takes State in Science Olympiad Competition
St. Mary’s Academy’s varsity Science Olympiad team was named state champion at the annual tournament held on March 18 at University of Portland. Team Neptune, led by coaches Dr. Anu Deshpande and Cindi Hounton, will represent the state of Oregon and St. Mary’s Academy on May 19-20 at the National Tournament at Wichita State University in Kansas.
The SMA Science Olympiads are comprised of three all-girls teams, all which placed at state: Team Neptune (1st), Team Saturn (5th), and Team Jupiter (8th). Each team has a variety of ages and four-year participants who began as freshman and remain through their high school career. Among their competitive peer schools across Oregon and Washington, SMA Science Olympiads are a particularly young group of highly skilled girls. Out of 40 members, roughly 75 percent are a combination of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.
Science Olympiad is a co-curricular activity, engaging students in and outside the classroom with more than 20 competitive events throughout the year. These rigorous events range from technical builds, to labs and test-focused pods. Students are encouraged to collaborate and learn from one another to achieve each task. “As coaches, we have a lead-from-behind approach,” Anu explains. “We encourage them to guide and learn from one another.” Every team member is extremely collaborative and relies heavily on the support of others to succeed.
In her second year as coach, Anu has witnessed back-to-back state wins, but the teamwork, passion and intellect of her students is the true prize. With a reputation of kindness and skill, Anu describes her team as “a St. Mary’s team -- collaboration and empathy are front and center.”
With Nationals on the horizon, the entire SMA community is proud of the dedication and sportsmanship represented through the Science Olympiad program and the success, opportunity and growth these young women have because of it.