World comes to Oswego June 15 for GENIUS Olympiad

High school students from around the world take the stage at the 2013 award ceremony of SUNY Oswego’s GENIUS Olympiad environmental competition. The 2014 finals will take place June 15 to 20 at the college, with the free public opening ceremony and display of projects at 6:15 p.m. Monday, June 16, in the Campus Center arena.
High school students from around the world take the stage at the 2013 award ceremony of SUNY Oswego’s GENIUS Olympiad environmental competition. The 2014 finals will take place June 15 to 20 at the college, with the free public opening ceremony and display of projects at 6:15 p.m. Monday, June 16, in the Campus Center arena.

The fourth annual SUNY Oswego GENIUS Olympiad high school environmental competition will welcome a record turnout of about 600 students, supervisors and guests from around the world June 15 to 20 to the shores of Lake Ontario.

The finalists visiting Oswego hail from near — high schools in Oswego and Onondaga counties and 29 states in all — and far — Albania and Azerbaijan, Turkey and Tanzania, and 46 other countries. 

Judges advanced a most-ever 328 projects for the finals, each submitted by up to two students, among a record-shattering 842 entries.

“We have added new countries this year that have never attended GENIUS before, such as Bolivia, Colombia, India, Norway,” said Fehmi Damkaci, competition founder and director and a member of Oswego’s chemistry faculty. 

“It is getting more attention around the world and more students from new countries applying. We are excited,” he said.

GENIUS Olympiad invites the public to free events that include the finalists’ display of their entries on June 16, the colorful International Cultural Fair on June 17 and a college fair and award ceremony on June 19.

Joining SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley and Provost Lorrie Clemo with welcoming messages on the competition’s website, geniusolympiad.org, are Gov. Andrew Cuomo, SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, U.S. senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei.

 GENIUS projects span the sciences, art, creative writing, design and, new this year, music in a competition that seeks to promote understanding of environmental issues and encourage problem-solving and solutions among secondary school students and their mentors.

 “Our aim is to provide a platform for creative high school students with different talents to work on environmental issues, and give them a place to share their work and create a better future,” Damkaci said.

Environmental creativity

 Projects on display at SUNY Oswego will include “Smart House,” a design by Vietnamese students; “Cry of a Leaf,” a music entry from Turkey; “Eagle and Mole,” a picture book for visually impaired and sighted schoolchildren from Switzerland; “The Tale of Heroic Oxygen,” a creative writing entry from Cambodia; and, among the entries in science, “Manufactured Wetlands to Eliminate Ocean Outfalls,” from Florida high school students; “Microplastics in Washing Machine Wastewater: Quantification of Polyester Microfibers in Wastewaters” from Slovenia; “Effective and Reusable Candidate for the Removal of Methylene Blue from Aqueous Solutions” from Mozambique; and “ How Does Climate Change Impact the Cryosphere?” from students at John C. Birdlebough High School in Phoenix.

 Finalists who journey to Oswego will appear for a free public opening ceremony from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Monday, June 16, in the Campus Center arena. Visitors may browse the hundreds of scholarly posters, demonstrations and displays and speak with competitors until 9 p.m.

Judging will be June 17, followed by a free public International Cultural Fair — many of the students will appear in colorful native dress amid items from their respective cultures — from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the arena.

A college fair will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, June 19, on the Campus Center concourse. The award ceremony — also free and open to the public — will close the Olympiad  at 1:15 p.m. Thursday, June 19, in the arena.

 The finalists and their mentors will travel to Niagara Falls and Destiny USA that week, and can visit New York City and Washington, D.C.

 Terra Science and Education Foundation joins SUNY Oswego as lead sponsor, as well as O’Brien & Gere, SRC Inc., Airgas, Constellation Energy, Youniversal Labs, International Wire and Pathfinder Bank.

 For more information, visit geniusolympiad.org.

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