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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

IESO 2009 in Taiwan

My 17 year-old son Joseph will be missing seven days of school, but it’s all for a good cause.

He was selected as one of four student participants to represent the United States at the 2009 International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO) in Taiwan.

The conference began on September 14th and will conclude on September 22nd. High school contestants from 15 participating countries will work in teams to solve the world's environmental problems, do field science work, and experience the culture of Taiwan. Other countries participating this year include Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Thailand.



Joseph (in photo with microphone above) was selected earlier this summer by scoring amongst the top four in an exam administered at the UVM/GIV Engineering Institute held at the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) in Burlington Vermont. The purpose of the UMV/GIV Institute is to help students gain an understanding of how research can work to solve societal problems through creative engineering. Students focus on how technology impacts humans, do hands-on engineering projects, participate in tours and engage in presentations by professors, computer scientists and mathematicians. The award ceremony from the UMV/GIV Institute is shown in the YouTube video below...








The IESO 2009 conference in Taipei Taiwan will focus on sustainability issues such as climate change. Now in its third year, the international event has seen a sharp increase in the number of participating countries from six to 15, with the United Kingdom and Italy joining the competition for the first time. It marks the first time Taiwan has hosted the annual event aimed at enhancing young students' interest in and understanding of the natural environment, climatic changes and the relationship between humans and nature.

IESO contestants will travel to the 921 Earthquake Museum in central Taiwan's Nantou County for inspection. They will conduct field surveys in the 921 earthquake memorial park and then present their briefings to a jury of experts to vie for the "best teamwork" and "best field survey" awards. All the contestants will be taken to Taiwan's northern coastline known for its complicated geological formations.

The IESO American Team is chaperoned by Tom and Beth Tailer, co-directors of the UVM/GIV Engineering Institute. They have been providing online mentoring for Joseph and his American teammates all summer. Joseph had crammed for much of his summer vacation in preparation for the highly-competitive event, which includes team sequestering and lengthy written exams. Upon the US team’s arrival in Taipei, Beth Tailor emailed the parents indicating, “The students did a wonderful job at the opening ceremony, and their presentation and skit were well received.” She added, “The food is plentiful, and we already have many stories to tell.”

The first IESO competition was held in South Korea in 2007, followed by a second event in the Philippines the following year. This marks the first time Taiwan has hosted the annual IESO event, which is aimed at enhancing young students' interest in and understanding of the natural environment, climatic changes and the relationship between humans and nature.


The 2009 IESO will conclude on September 21st with an award presentation ceremony where it is anticipated that gifts will be given to the foreign contestants by the host country to help them better understand Taiwan's culture and lifestyle.

Here is the American team during a visit to the National Palace Museum...


Link: http://www.ieso2009.tw/home/home.htm

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