Middle-school students v. JAX scientists in science bowl scrimmage

Punching above their weight, middle school students from the science- and math-focused Talcott Mountain Academy of Avon, Conn., won a practice science bowl scrimmage at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) on April 7, against JAX researchers and other staff with advanced degrees.

Following the three-round scrimmage, Talcott 8th grader Julia Hoffman commented, “With a couple of months’ practice, JAX could have a really good team.”

Having won their regional competition in February, the Talcott team is headed to Washington, D.C., April 28 to May 2 for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl®, a nationwide academic competition that tests students’ knowledge in all areas of science and mathematics.

Kathleen Adams, Ph.D., director of JAX Clinical Services Business Development and a Talcott board member, was approached by Talcott staff about having the Talcott team scrimmage with JAX personnel to practice for their big event, using questions and answers provided by the DOE.

Talcott families, Academy Dean Lydia Gibb and JAX employees were in attendance to watch the competition unfold. “It was a great match,” said Gibb. “Having the chance to practice with Jackson Laboratory scientists gave the students a real boost in confidence.”

Middle and high school student science bowl teams are composed of four students, one alternate and a teacher who serves as an advisor and coach. These teams face off in a fast-paced question-and-answer format, being tested on a range of science disciplines including biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics, energy and math. 

“These kids are really well prepared for the National Science Bowl,” Adams said. “We wish them great success in the final rounds.”

From the JAX team, Postdoctoral Associate Jethro Johnson, Ph.D., added, “We look forward to seeing them back here in 10 years,” as fellow scientists.

The Jackson Laboratory offers educational programs for scientists throughout their careers—from STEM education for high school students and training for science and math teachers to courses and conferences for experienced researchers defining the cutting edge of genomics research and specialized training for physicians interested in incorporating genetics and genomics into their practices.