Oliver Sun had to catch a plane to make it to his graduation from Ardrey Kell High on June 10. He was on a 24-hour reprieve from the USA Biology Olympiad training camp at Purdue University, where he is one of 20 students competing for a spot on the United States team.
His passion for science has led to increased options for students at Ardrey Kell. He founded the science club his junior year to engage students in more types of science competitions and provide community service. Though the school had a successful Science Olympiad program, Oliver’s club added Physics Bowl, and Chemistry and Biology Olympiad competitions.
“I thought there had to be other kids who like science competitions the way I do,” Oliver said. “If not for the clubs, then when would we get these opportunities?”
Oliver credits the competitions with preparing him for college. Not only do they expose students to college-level material, but they help students learn the best techniques to study text books and improve time management skills. The activities are done after school, so students must take personal responsibility to study.
“The science competitions, especially higher-level competitions, give you an opportunity to work with in-depth curriculum and study from the nation’s top professors,” Oliver said. “They bring the experience to you and create an engagement with science. They apply science beyond the text book.”
Oliver will continue his science studies at Princeton University, but is undecided between a law or science degree.
Once there, he’ll also audition for the school’s symphony orchestra. Oliver has played cello for the Charlotte Youth Symphony orchestra for the last four years.