OSWEGO — The 2016 GENIUS Olympiad has selected 495 projects as finalists, with an eye to hosting a record 850 high school scholars and their mentors June 12 to 17 at SUNY Oswego — an anticipated 28 percent increase over last year.
The sixth annual global environmental competition, organized by Terra Science and Education with guidance by board members and contest judges from SUNY Oswego and other area colleges and businesses, has set May 21 for finalists to confirm their participation.
Public viewing of projects is set for 5 to 7:30 p.m. June 13, in the college’s Marano Campus Center arena. Parking is free on campus for public events during GENIUS.
This year, GENIUS drew a total of 1,259 projects from 65 nations and 32 states in science, visual and performing arts, creative writing, design and business.
“Our aim is to provide a platform for creative high school students with different talents to work on environmental issues, and give them a place to share their work and create a better future,” said GENIUS founder and director Dr. Fehmi Damkaci, a member of the SUNY Oswego chemistry faculty and president of Terra Science and Education.
Far beyond a “science fair,” the competition has steadily expanded its project categories — and the added activities surrounding the visit to Oswego — inviting high school-age students to participate in more scholarly and creative ways to present or advocate for solutions to sustaining the planet.
While on campus, teacher-mentors may participate in or attend workshops developed by faculty of the college’s School of Education, and participants can receive SUNY Oswego interviews with Admissions Office representatives, find help with college applications and letters, and register for the three-week GENIUS Olympiad Summer English and Culture Program at the college.
Kaleidoscope of entries
For the 2016 edition, GENIUS received 691 project submissions in science, 287 in the visual arts and music, 151 in creative writing, 79 in design and 51 in business.
Science finalists have been selected to present a wide array of projects, from “The Use of a Drone as a Tool for the Collection of Botanical Samples at Different Altitudes” (Brazil) to “Decreasing Plastic and Petroleum Effects on Seed Generation” (Iraq), from “Homemade vs. Over-the-Counter Acne Mediations” (Iowa) to “The Social and Psychological Impact of Type 2 Diabetes” (New York).
In the visual and performing arts, titles include “We Cannot Keep Eating from This Big Fashion Pile” (Turkey), “Gabriel’s Oboe” (South Korea), “Message for Nature” (Indonesia) and “Save Green, Save Yourself” (Kyrgyzstan).
Creative writing projects include such titles as “Colors of the Wind” (Vietnam), “The European Refugee Crisis” (Macedonia), “The Voice of My Soul” (Nigeria) and “The Earth Deserves a Change” (Pakistan).
In design categories — which include architecture, urban planning, interior environment and innovation in products or processes — finalists have entered such titles as “A Tool for the Visually Impaired” (United Arab Emirates), “A Cost-Efficient Way to Reduce Carbon Monoxide Emissions from Motor Vehicles” (Massachusetts), “Robotic Operated Butler (R.O.B.) and Mathematics” (Namibia) and “Design of Molecular Weaving” (Slovenia).
Business projects under the umbrellas of entrepreneurship or social responsibility have titles such as “Efficient Public Transport, the Future of Sustainable Planning” (Albania), “Multipurpose Water Filter” (Malaysia), “The Production of Biodegradable Polymers in Africa: PLGA-Based Cancer Drug Delivery Method” (Tanzania) and “Cuamitzlinux: Free Operating System” (Mexico).
Events surrounding GENIUS Olympiad will include the popular and colorful International Fair — free and open to the public — from 5 to 7:30 p.m. June 14, in the arena; the College Fair for GENIUS participants and interested members of the public on June 16, along the Marano Campus Center concourse; and a free public awards ceremony at 1:15 p.m. June 16 in the arena.
Organizers from Terra Science and Education also offer visitors trips to Niagara Falls, Washington, D.C., and New York City and — new this year — a six-university tour of Ivy League schools.
For more information, visit geniusolympiad.org