Hundreds of middle and high school students from seven counties will compete in the regional North Carolina Science Olympiad at UNCG 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18.

Teams of up to 18 students will compete in events including building a battery-powered vehicle to traverse a specific course; testing a white powder to determine as many properties as possible; reading maps; and solving astronomy problems. Teams from Alamance, Chatham, Forsyth, Guilford, Orange, Rockingham and Stokes counties will take part in events in the Sullivan Science and Petty Science buildings and the Student Recreation Center.

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, located in nearby McLeansville, is supporting the event with volunteers and a contribution for trophies and medals. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems has served as a trusted partner to the U.S. intelligence, maritime, space and homeland communities for more than 50 years, and has been a supporter of the North Carolina Science Olympiad for almost a decade.

“The Science Olympiad provides students that have an interest in science an opportunity to compete and to receive recognition of their achievements. It is a nice counterpoint to athletic competition and recognition,” said Dr. Robert Muir, UNCG associate professor of physics and astronomy.

Muir and fellow faculty members Meg Horton and Jerry Walsh are directors of the regional competition, which is supported by dozens of faculty and student volunteers from across the campus.

The top performers in this regional tournament will compete in the state tournament held at North Carolina State University. The top two middle and high school teams at the state tournament will go on to the 2012 National Tournament.

North Carolina Science Olympiad (NCSO) is a nonprofit organization with the mission to attract and retain the pool of K-12 students entering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees and careers in North Carolina. Each year NCSO hosts tournaments on university, community college and public school campuses across the state.