Kodiak Students Head to Tsunami Bowl

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

A group of Kodiak students is getting ready for the University of Alaska’s Tsunami Bowl 2016. Not only will they take part in an environmental quiz show, but they’ll also present a research paper they wrote together.

Switgard Dusterleoh is the coach for the Kodiak team and explains that the annual Tsunami Bowl is the qualifier for the National Ocean Science Bowl.

“It is a competition where, in a quiz bowl format, students from high schools compete in the ocean sciences. So, this includes chemistry, biology, physics, technology, marine policies, everything you could know or not know about the oceans.”

She says the students write a research paper together and then present it to a room full of people. That process is 40 percent of the team’s score. They’ll earn the other 60 percent through the quiz portion. However, Dusterleoh emphasizes the importance of that 40 percent to the students’ personal growth.

“It’s as important to learn to write – how do you write a research paper and how do you give a presentation? And I keep telling my students that no matter where you go in life, even if you don’t want anything to do with ocean sciences, knowing how to present in front of a big audience is very, very, very beneficial in the long run.”

Senior Devin Shannon-Aguirre says he’ll help the Kodiak team practice for this year’s Tsunami Bowl. He participated in the competition last year and says presenting their research paper took him to a new level of comfort and skill with public speaking.      

“Because when you present in front of just your class, there’s maybe about 10, 15 people there and the teacher, and that’s completely different from 150 to 200, and after you do that, you have a real sense of accomplishment and strength in what you can do.”
It’s also about the experience.  

“It was a lot of fun collaborating with the teammates and actually figuring out how your pieces are all gonna fit together, because there’s a lot of work that goes into just writing yours and then making sure it leads into the next person’s part and that everything comes together correctly so that it all sounds like a good paper.”

The Kodiak team will travel to Seward next week for the Tsunami Bowl. You can help the students’ chances by attending their practice presentation Friday night. The talk will address the chemicals in plastic and their effect on sea birds. It’ll begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Benny Benson building at Kodiak College.

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