Seward’s Starfish Make a Splash at NOSB


Kyrsten Johnson-Gray, staff writer

The Seward team had a fine showing in the National Ocean Science Bowl (NOSB) competition February 22-23. The overall results of the competition were based on scores from the 15-page paper, oral presentation, and quiz bowl. Fifteen teams from around the state came to Seward to compete, and Seward Starfish placed 11th overall.

Most teams consisted of five players: four members and an alternate. Seward’s team included the following four students: Naomi Ifflander, Kyrsten Johnson-Gray, Priscilla Stoltz, and Alysa Kurtz.

We started writing papers towards the end of first quarter. The Marine Biology class split into three smaller groups and each wrote a paper, following the guidelines given for the competition, about something that interested them most. We evaluated each other’s then voted on the topic of focus. Little did we know our finished product would include a little bit from all the papers.

Our topic was “Ocean Warming Effects On Salmon Populations.” Unfortunately, we faced many challenges with this issue. When looking for supporting data, we found much of the necessary data to back our hypothesis was missing. We didn’t let that get in the way. The team pushed through and used this to our advantage.

Together we submitted a 15-page paper, having an issue close to our hearts that we saw affected our own community, that placed us 14th in this section of the competition. While the paper portion of the competition may not have been the team’s strong suit, we proved able to hold our own when it came to the oral presentation, placing 5th.

Before the team had gone on stage for the oral presentation, we were trying to decide how we wanted to stand. We had practiced with two of us on either side of a smart board, but we hadn’t thought that we were giving the presentation in the auditorium and weren’t sure if we could get a mic on the other side of the stage. We had joked about how we were all loud enough to not need a mic. To our surprise, during our oral presentation, we had some technical difficulties. Our mic cut out and quit working, and just like we had said before, we were loud enough without one.

After the stress of the oral presentation was over, we got to have some fun with the quiz bowl section of the competition. Quiz bowl is where two teams go head to head in a battle, where they are challenged with college-level multiple choice questions. A member from either team will buzz in. A correct answer rewards the team with  a bonus question where they can collaborate on the answer. If they get the multiple choice question wrong, then the other team gets a chance at answering. If that team gets it right, then they get asked a bonus question. If they get it wrong, the judges move onto the next question. This got our adrenaline pumping! Even though there were only four people to compete, it was a group effort from the whole Marine Biology class to write the essay and prepare for quiz bowl. Overall,this year’s team did well, had fun, and learned a lot. Next year, Seward will come back even stronger.