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March 17, 2010 > Mission San Jose takes first at Sea Lion Bowl

Mission San Jose takes first at Sea Lion Bowl

By Alissa Gwynn
Photos By Alissa Gwynn

Mission San Jose High school took home first place honors again at the Sea Lion Bowl, a regional Ocean Sciences competition held at San Francisco State University on March 6. The team, comprised of Youngjun Na, Audrey Huang, Wesley Chou, Joy Chen, and Captain Jared Shen, and coached by Julie Liukart, competed against 15 other schools to answer questions about various oceanography topics such as sonar and satellites.

The Sea Lion Bowl is one of the 25 regional competitions that make up the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB). This nationally recognized oceanography competition is sponsored by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, an organization that represents the leading oceanographic institutions and universities across the nation.

Senior Joy Chen, who has attended the Sea Lion Bowl for the past four years, says, "I go because it's fun. I really like the people who are volunteers [moderators, runners, scorekeepers, etc.] because they are all scientists who are really good at what they do and know the competition material."

Chen also notes that she and the rest of the competitors often get into interesting discussions with the moderators and scientific mentors. In fact, these discussions exemplify the NOSB's goal of "giving oceanographic research programs the opportunity to develop new links with their local pre-college community and opening students' eyes to ocean-related career options." Additionally, NOSB aims to spark further student interest for careers in marine biology by providing various internship and scholarship opportunities to participants.

During the competition, there are three types of questions: "toss-up," where teams buzz-in to answer, "bonus," offered after correctly answering a toss-up question, and "team challenges" which are essentially "worksheets" that the team collaborates on. An example of an easy toss up question is: The aphotic zone is a part of the water column where photosynthesis cannot occur because of the absence of: a.) carbon dioxide b.) oxygen c.) nutrients d.) sunlight. (The correct answer is d).

Now that Mission San Jose's team has won regionals, they will prepare for finals held in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Past winners of finals have received experiential trips to various marine research locations around the world - like Costa Rica, Panama, and Bermuda - that have provided hands-on laboratory and field experiences.

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