UMass Amherst Science Olympiad (UMASO) Wins Two “Sammies” Awards
The University of Massachusetts Amherst Science Olympiad (umaso.org), a registered student organization (RSO) on campus that features several student organizers from the College of Engineering (CoE), received two awards at the 18th annual “Sammies,” the UMass Student Engagement and Leadership's equivalent to the Oscars. UMASO collected the awards for Outstanding New Registered Student Organization (RSO) and Outstanding Honors and Academic Society RSO.
UMASO’s 11 student organizers from many departments across campus include four from the CoE: Larry Jin from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department; Jack Guo and Divyesh Biswas from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department; and Erin Kim from the Biomedical Engineering Department.
This year the UMASO Science Olympiad was held on February 18, as run by the student organizers and a host of event supervisors, who coordinated 21 events. Those events included contests about such subjects as code busters, cell biology, forensics, astronomy, disease detectives, environmental chemistry, and many more.
As the UMASO website explains, it is a student-run organization based at the UMass Amherst campus. “Our mission is to attract high school students to STEM by working year-round to host an annual, hands-on Science Olympiad Invitational Tournament in the New England area for a diverse set of competing teams.”
As UMASO describes its concept, “Having competed in and volunteered at regional, invitational, state, and national science olympiad competitions, the impassioned members of UMASO understand the intricacies of different styles of tournaments and what makes an event memorable. We aim to draw on these experiences to bring a novel Science Olympiad experience to high-school teams in New England through a tournament that is inclusive and hands-on.”
The Outstanding New RSO Award, as won by UMASO, is given to a new RSO that has succeeded in building a solid foundation for the organization to sustain itself for years to come. As the Sammies website explains, “The group will have increased its membership, delegated responsibilities throughout the organization, experienced leadership training, and completed all Student Engagement and SGA requirements.”
According to the Sammies website, "The Award for Outstanding Academic & Honor Society RSO is given to an Academic RSO or Honor Society that has demonstrated exceptional commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and development of leadership. This award honors an RSO that widely and successfully nourishes intellectual exploration and growth outside of the classroom."
The Sammies ceremony recognizes outstanding performance among RSOs, GSOs, agencies, student businesses, and student leaders. According to the awards website, “The Sammies highlight all the great things that our RSOs, GSOs, agencies, student businesses, and student leaders do. This event is open to all students, staff, and faculty as we celebrate the accomplishments of our organizations.” (July 2023)