Science Olympiad MIT Trip

Science Olympiad MIT Trip

Mary Harten '19, Contributor

Science Olympiad MIT Trip

Mary Harten ’19, Contributor


Normally when you think about Saturday’s, images of waking up at 6:30am and taking multiple math and science tests doesn’t come to mind, but this is how I, along with 16 fellow Country Day students, spent Saturday, January 12th. What’s surprising about this whole situation isn’t that I, a second semester senior, gave up my weekend to take tests, but that I actually had fun!

We left school in a yellow school bus around 1:00pm the Thursday before the competition and headed for the airport. Ironically everyone had TSA Pre-Check, but it wasn’t until the returning flight when few people had it that the security lines were long enough to make it worth while. The plane took off at 4:30 and we were on our way. When we landed in Boston the bus was already there waiting for us, so we grabbed our bags and ran, spending as little time outside in the freezing tundra as possible. After arriving at the hotel we all snacked on the warm chocolate chip cookies waiting for us in the lobby and retreated to our rooms for a brief intermission before returning downstairs for dinner.  Dinner was a short ten-minute walk from the hotel. It was this cute food court that offered a wide selection of options. I, of course, chose Chipotle, with the intention of visiting the cookie dough station afterwards. These cookie dough plans soon went awry when the fire alarm began to sound! Out of habit all of us students quietly stood up and walked to the nearest exit. We didn’t realize until we had reached the exit that absolutely no one in the rest of the food court seemed alarmed in the slightest. Still, we heard the fire trucks coming so we decided to play it safe and just return to the hotel, no cookie dough in hand.

The next day we ate breakfast at the hotel and walked over to MIT’s campus where we visited the KOCH institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Here we were given a tour of the building by an amazing tour guide, who not only knew the building, but also knew what the researchers were doing and was able to explain it in a way that non-MIT students could understand… or at least partially understand. After the tour we got to experience a career panel held by four current employees of the KOCH institute—three researchers and one technician. The technician is the operator of all the research equipment. He gave an inspirational story of how he ended up working at MIT which involved a lot of not knowing what he wanted to do. So, for all of you reading this who are stressed about making the wrong decisions in life, just know that this man made wrong decision after wrong decision but was still able to find what he loved doing. From the researchers we learned about how they decided that they wanted to be in research and what they love doing. Able just graduated from graduate school and is currently working on different treatments for diabetes that are more feasible than the current methods. They also explained the process that it takes for new medicines and treatments to actually be used on patients. It requires a lot of testing and certifications before any new drug or treatment can be used on an actual person.

After the tour we went took the “T” to Faneuil Hall, an iconic tourist destination located on the water. It resembles an Finley Market on steroids. We ate lunch and shopped around before returning to the hotel around 4:00pm to relax in the room for a little before gathering in the lobby for pizza. There were CCDS alumni at dinner who attend/attended a college around Boston. We were able to chat with them and see how their experiences have been through college and after.

The next day was Saturday, the day that I had to wake up at 6:30am… and I was in the later group! Some people had to wake up at 5:30am! We were planning on walking, but it was a whopping 10 degrees outside so we opted for an Uber instead. My events were the last three on the roster so I had a nice relaxing morning which gave me an opportunity to do all of my homework for the weekend. The events themselves—I participated Fermi Questions, Write It Do It, and Water Quality—were quite challenging. But it is and MIT competition, so I expected it. The general consensus of the competitions was that all of the events were difficult but not impossible.

In the end we places 45th out of 74 teams, a relative success when you consider the challenging teams that we were competing against.

After the competition we went to Harvard square to grab some Mexican food before returning to the hotel to pack and get ready for the flight early the next day. We were home by 1:00 Sunday afternoon.

All in all, this was a great school trip. It promoted team bonding as well as encouraged stellar academics. Unfortunately, I am graduating this year and will not be able to participate again next year. But, if it is an option again next year, I would highly recommend this trip to any student interested in Science Olympiad.