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Reach for the Stars!


Reach for the stars!

Where it All Started

I have always enjoyed building things, taking things apart, and figuring out how things work, but I couldn’t envision how these natural skills and inclinations could become a foundation for my future career. When I started competing in Science Olympiad at eleven years old, I had no idea what I planned to do in the future or even what general skills I already possessed. Science Olympiad exposed me to the field of STEM, allowing me to figure out what I was skilled at and what I enjoyed doing as I competed in various categories: “Hovercraft”, “Optics”, “Write it Do it”, “Potions and Poisons”, “Fast Facts”, “Ornithology”, “Designer Genes”, “Remote Sensing”, “Astronomy”, “Detector Building”, “Chem Lab”, “Environmental Chemistry”, “Helicopters”, “Gravity Vehicle”, and “Ping Pong Parachute”.

 

Skills Gained Through Science Olympiad

As I invested time into preparing for and competing in Science Olympiad over the past seven years, I have been challenged to explore a multitude of scientific disciplines that I would never have studied otherwise. I have also learned practical skills such as efficient teamwork, time management, and general study skills.


The most inestimable impact Science Olympiad has had in my life resulted from gaining knowledge of my skills and a vision for my future ambitions. During the first few years competing in Science Olympiad, I quickly learned that I had an aptitude for solving mathematical and scientific problems, (specifically relating to physics) and that I enjoyed building devices with specific requirements and an end goal in mind. Once I finished my third competitive season, I knew that I wanted to pursue a STEM career field. During my fifth and sixth years competing in Science Olympiad, I began to narrow down a future path I wished to pursue. My enjoyment in math-heavy events such as “Astronomy”, “Remote Sensing”, and certain build events was reinforced through my final years competing in Science Olympiad. I decided to pursue an engineering degree of some kind, eventually settling on aerospace engineering because of my love for aircraft and spacecraft.

 

Using My Skills to Help Others

After I won a total of fifty medals altogether from regional, state, and national level competitions and was a member of the winning teams from the Colorado State Science Olympiad Tournament in 2021 and 2023, allowing me to represent Colorado at the National Science Olympiad Tournament, a very impactful thought came to mind:


“What is the point of having skills and passions if I don’t use these talents to help and train others in my community?”

I realized that being part of a Science Olympiad team meant that my impact on the community around me had already begun. Since the Homeschool Science Colorado team is exclusively comprised of homeschooled competitors, recruitment is unbelievably difficult, making it nearly impossible to fill the roster with the fifteen required competitors (especially on the C division team). Therefore, talented middle schoolers often end up on the C-team. In a two-pronged effort to make every team member highly competitive and achieve the best possible outcome, individuals with experience and skills become mentors and teachers as they partner with the youngest and least experienced team members. This mentorship enables the newer team members to achieve success and training without feeling lost and bewildered. It is an incredible learning opportunity for all who are involved. With all my experience competing in Science Olympiad competitions, I often mentored younger, less experienced partners, preparing them to reach for the stars as they compete in difficult event categories such as Astronomy and Detector Building.


How fulfilling it is to live out the wisdom shared in the Bible! "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:" (1 Peter 4:10, ESV)

Science Olympiad has also enabled me to impact the community around me through volunteer work. Over two years, I earned over one hundred forty volunteer hours with the Space Foundation Discovery Center. I often ran the “Mars Lab,” an interactive exhibit that allows guests to operate Mars rovers (LEGO EV3 robots) on a dusty and rocky surface. Since the dust from the exhibit often breaks the rovers, I applied the invaluable troubleshooting and critical thinking skills I gained from competing in Science Olympiad to work while fixing them. In addition, I was eventually given the responsibility to conduct a tour of the solar system, a presentation in which I used a six-foot carbon fiber sphere and four projectors to present the main objects of the solar system to guests. I felt confidently equipped to fulfill each task since I had been competing in Science Olympiad, specifically the Solar System and Astronomy competitions.


Looking Toward a Bright Future

One of my primary principles is to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” My time competing in Science Olympiad has helped and will continue to help me pursue this goal. I plan on attending college to earn a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering, which will allow me to enter the workforce and work to help develop the next generation of aircraft and spacecraft. Who knows, I might get to work on a project that reaches the stars!

 

-Hudson Puhek   


Hudson Puhek



Hudson Puhek competed with Homeschool Science Colorado for seven years, serving as team captain for the past two seasons. Competing in every category of science and engineering from optics and astronomy to genetics and ornithology, Hudson has earned more than 50 regional, state, and national level medals. After graduating from homeschool in 2023, he will study aerospace engineering in college.




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