BAKERSFIELD - A national competition organized by the U.S. Department of Energy is helping prepare young people for a successful career in the field of science.
Hundreds of students participated in the weekend event at California State University-Bakersfield campus.
Students around Kern County are taking what they learn in the classroom and testing all of their science skills for a chance to compete for top prize in our nation’s capital.
The Kern County Regional Science Bowl is like a quiz where every question counts. Students spend several months studying and preparing for the competition.
"It is a bit nerve racking, you heart starts pumping once you start to think you know the answer. Sometimes you're wrong, sometimes you're right," said Lizette Martinez of Shafter High School.
Contestants are given five seconds to answer random questions in the fields of science, physics, chemistry and biology and are also quizzed in geology, technology and energy.
"Science explains the world whether you think it does or not,” said Joel Perez, Shafter High School.
More than thirty teams from 16 different high schools are competing in the Science Bowl, a chance for students to show off everything they’re learning at school.
“You don’t really have to be an expert to be in the Science Bowl, but it will help a lot,” said Erik Moreno of Arvin High School.
“As long as you study, you’ll be fine,” said Rafael De La Cruz, Arvin High School.
Although there are some intense moments and big surprises, the competition is more than just about winning a national title.
"Economically speaking, science is still one of the growth areas. We always need more scientist and these students will have an open job market," said Thomas Meyer, coordinator of the event.
Leaders with the bowl say the event helps students focus on science as many of them go on to college and eventually graduate into science fields.
"First of all, it's a fun event. It shows everybody that science also can be fun. The other thing it keeps the interest in science awake," he said.
The top two teams advance to the finals and compete in a double-elimination round, with the winner advancing to the national Science Bowl. That competition takes place in Washington, DC in April.