By Ashley M. Casey
Two students from John C. Birdlebough High School in Phoenix are headed to the international GENIUS Olympiad, held June 15-20 at SUNY Oswego. The GENIUS Olympiad is a competition for high school students in the areas of science, art, design, writing and music.
Nicholas Bernard and Jonathan George, both ninth-graders in Susan Sharp’s earth science honors class, will present their research project “How Does Climate Change Impact the Cryosphere?” at the competition, which will host about 600 students from more than 50 countries.
Bernard and George are the winners of the regional GENIUS Olympiad held in April. Their classmate, Shane Girard, earned second place at the regional competition for his research about melting ice caps and their environmental impact.
That victory earned their school a $2,000 grant for a sustainability project.
“I actually didn’t know we would win,” George said. “I was very excited.”
In addition to the sustainability grant, George said he and Bernard won medals, a hydroponics system and a trip to Niagara Falls with the rest of the GENIUS Olympiad participants at SUNY Oswego.
George said he and Bernard chose their topics from a list of 100 provided by their teacher for Birdlebough’s Earth Science Symposium.
“I did ‘How Does Global Warming Affect Snowstorms?’ and Nick did the cryosphere,” George said. The cryosphere refers to ice on Earth.
From there, the two combined their research findings and are adding on to the project until the international competition.
“It was a lot of work,” George said of the project, which included a research paper, PowerPoint presentation and poster.
“We have added new countries this year that have never attended GENIUS before, such as Bolivia, Colombia, India, Norway,” Fehmi Damkaci, GENIUS Olympiad founder and director and a member of SUNY Oswego’s chemistry faculty, said in a press release.
“It is getting more attention around the world and more students from new countries applying. We are excited,” he added.
“There’s going to be a ton of kids from all over the world,” George said. “It’s going to be very hard to win, but I hope we do.”
The public can view the GENIUS projects and meet the student scholars after the free, public opening ceremony from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Monday, June 16, in the Campus Center arena. Exhibits are open until 9 p.m. For more information, visit geniusolympiad.org.