Earth Science Club gets a Good Dose of Vitamin Sea at the Sea Lion Bowl


The team of five girls and parental chaperones woke up at around five o’clock in the morning to get to Monterey for the competition on at nine (Lakshmanan Venugopalan).

Vivian Hoang, Copy Editor

Members of Irvington’s Earth Science Club participated in a regional competition for National Ocean Science Bowl called the Sea Lion Bowl at California State University Monterey Bay on Feb. 3. The team of seniors and freshmen included Bhavini Lakshmanan (12), Vani Anilkumar (12), Aliza Naqvi (12), Chandralekha Garapaty (9), and Elsa Joseph (12), with the last serving as an alternate for the team. The Earth Science Club participated in the same competition last year as well when it was held at Stanford University.

The competition format included battles between teams with a six-minute buzzer round, a Team Challenge Question, and another buzzer round. There were four preliminary rounds to gain points. The fifth and sixth rounds served as elimination rounds before going onto the semi-final and final rounds. The Sea Lion Bowl had ocean-related questions from various scientific fields, ranging from physical oceanography to marine treaty policies. For example, one of the Team Challenge Questions was, “What are some positive and negative feedback cycles involved with the water cycle, greenhouse gases, and global warming in general?”

Similar to their standings at last year’s competition, the Irvington team did not qualify for the semi-finals, missing out on the round by just one point this year, but the group enjoyed the competition and the experience just the same.

The girls prepared for the competition a month in advance by meeting after school every Friday for two hours to study from a textbook and answer drill through practice questions together. A week before the actual competition, they ramped up their weekly meetings to daily practices.

“What I really enjoyed about Sea Lion Bowl was the team-spirited atmosphere. All the teams were very friendly and encouraging,” said Earth Science Club’s Co-President Vani Anilkumar about her experience about the event.

Earth Science Club’s Co-President Bhavini Lakshmanan said about the senior researchers and coordinators of the event, “Our club met many people who were very informed in marine science like physical oceanographers, and other researchers who conducted interesting studies!”

Even though Irvington’s Earth Science Club did not get the chance to compete in the final rounds, the girls met and were inspired by numerous people who shared their passion for the ocean and science. The Sea Lion Bowl is definitely on the club’s list of activities to sea to next year.