North Carolina Science Olympiad (NCSO)


"North Carolina Science Olympiad (NCSO) is a nonprofit organization with the mission to attract and retain the pool of K-12 students entering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees and careers in North Carolina (2012-2013 Annual Report, 2013, p.3)."

The NCSO accomplishes its mission through professional development workshops, summer institutes, after school programs, summer camps and intramural, regional, and state tournaments that are rigorous academic interscholastic competitions consisting of a series of both individual and team events that are well-balanced between the various science disciplines of biology, earth-science, chemistry, physics, and technology.

The NCSO is dedicated to:

  • Ensuring all students have an equal opportunity to high quality science and technology education regardless of their ethnicity, household income, or geographic location.
  • Motivating students to expand their knowledge and competence in science and technology and increase their insight into the investigative process by enabling them to "do" science through hands-on and inquiry-based exploration.
  • Nurturing students' enthusiasm for science and technology.
  • Getting students interested in pursuing science and science-related careers.
  • Increasing community involvement in schools.
  • Providing recognition for outstanding achievement for both students and teachers.

"Students don't just memorize content knowledge, they participate in events that are meant to challenge their ability to solve problems and come up with answers to science-related challenges.


This is a special year as Science Olympiad moves from Hanover Gym on campus to Trask Coliseum! It is amazing to see a future generation of students rewarded for their academic STEM efforts while engaged in team competition and collaboration."

-Dennis Kubasko, Wilmington Regional Director and Director of UNCW's CESTEM

Above Image: "2013: One of Many Clever Science Olympiad Team T-Shirts"

NCSO Statistics

Close to 1,000 Students from Southeastern North Carolina Will Compete at the UNC Wilmington Regional Science Olympiad on UNCW's Campus Saturday, March 10th.

In 2014, more than 800 K-12 teams representing over 14,000 students and 70 counties in North Carolina participated in NCSO activities. NCSO is indebted to the thousands of volunteers that donate their time each year to making our activities a success.

With volunteer numbers in the thousands, NCSO encourages reaching middle and high school students for science from many aspects of the community. The challenging and motivating events of the NCSO align with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study as well as the National Science Education Standards. The events are designed to enhance and strengthen both science content and process skills. Over the past year, the "Duct Tape Challenge" and "Write it, Do it" events both saw an over 90% participation rate within the B Division. In addition, in the C division, "Anatomy & Physiology" as well as " Mystery Architecture" saw an over 90% participation rate.

The National Science Education Standards hailed the Science Olympiad as an example that "illustrates the close relationship between teaching and assessment. The assessment tasks are developmentally appropriate for young children, including recognition of students' physical skills and cognitive abilities" (NRC, 1996, p.39).

All information on page from NCSO Website.