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Science team members participate in female-only competition

by Alex Feit

Female science team members participated in the Women of Science competition at Bedford Saturday, Dec. 8, according to senior Natsuko Yamagata, the captain for the event.

Seniors Catherine Chen, Christina Chen, Gloria Li, Helen Maunsell and Yamagata and juniors Jennifer Chang, Karen Fan, Gina Ferolito and Ying Gao were split into three different teams at the event.

The competition was comprised of two academic quiz events and two engineering challenges, according to Yamagata.

The first event, entitled Anything Goes, involved competitors traveling to 10 different stations to solve certain scientific tasks, such as solving logic problems and identifying lab equipment.

The second academic event was the MCAS Challenge, in which the teams solved 100 problems from the science sections of the MCAS standardized test in 45 minutes.

To prepare for the first engineering event, teams built a catapult. On the day of the competition, teams were tasked to use the machine to throw hacky-sack balls a distance of eight meters.

Finally, the last engineering event, which was revealed at the competition, involved building a bridge with office equipment to hold up a weight.

The three teams from this school placed placed eighth, 11th and 12th overall out of 30 teams, Yamagata said.

She said that “all teams placed really well in the academic events,” with one team placing second in the MCAS Challenge and in third for Anything Goes.

Yamagata said she attributes the success of the team to the participation of motivated and experienced juniors and seniors in the event.

“Everyone in the team has taken or are taking Advanced Placement and honors science and math courses, which became a great advantage, because all knew almost more than the amount of science and math we had to know. In that regard, the study meetings were really smooth and solid,” said Yamagata.

However, some aspects of the preparation did not go as smoothly as possible because of the limited time to practice and to work on building for the competition, according to Yamagata.

“Since all members were either juniors or seniors, it was really hard to keep our building moving along during our after-school meetings. Almost every one of them, including myself, had other after-school activities,” Yamagata said.

In the future, Yamagata hopes that next year’s team will focus more on preparing for building events to increase its chances of success.

“If we combine our success with academic events this year with the success with building events last year, then we could totally win the competition next year,” Yamagata said.

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