Washington Department of Health launches science competition for high school students

By The Staff of The Chronicle

The Washington State Department of Health‘s (DOH) Washington Tracking Network (WTN) is launching a science contest for young people.

The WTN competition offers high school students across the state the opportunity to develop science and communication skills while working with health and environmental data from their own communities.

Participants can choose from three tracks: Health Sciences, where students will perform analysis with WTN data to reveal correlations, impacts and/or disparities; community engagement, where students will use WTN tools and data to address health and equity issues and either develop a public policy proposal or work with a local organization to create or improve a project or program; or science communication, where students will identify an issue that is important to them and develop a message to raise awareness or drive action related to the issue.

Each track asks students to use WTN data and consider how their project addresses equity issues within their communities.

Jennifer Sabel, Head of WTN, said, “Students participating in this competition will learn about the health of their communities, how to work with data, and how to use that data to effect positive change.

The competition is designed to have broader appeal than traditional science competitions by integrating community engagement and science communication components.

“These leads are at the intersection of data and real-world impact,” Sabel said. “Science affects every aspect of our lives, and this is a chance for students to use their knowledge to improve their communities. I can’t wait to see the students’ creative applications.

To develop the competition, the DOH consulted with an advisory committee of high school students.

“Students offered important insight into what would be interesting and motivating for their peers, and they helped shape the contest,” said Lize Williams, the DOH communications strategist who spearheaded the contest’s creation. “Co-creation is a way to build equity by centering the voices of those affected by a program in the design of that program. »

Iris Pang, a member of the student advisory committee, said she enjoyed “being able to talk with other students who are excited about the impact student projects could have on their communities.”

Registration is open from February 17 to March 15 and the official contest period is from March 1 to April 30. Winners will be announced in early June.

Visit https://bit.ly/3H2jNY1 to register. To learn more about WTN, visit https://bit.ly/36oe3v3.

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