by KELLY GUSICH | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Generating Curiosity

volunteer_day1Christopher Day and his family are relatively new San Diego residents, having just moved to Carmel Valley from Madison, WI in 2016. The eldest of Christopher’s two sons became involved in Science Olympiad when he was in the sixth grade, inspiring the scientist in Christopher to get involved. “I am a biologist and love to share science with a lay audience,” he shared, “especially young students who are often in awe when they learn about the discoveries that have been made over the years.” Christopher is currently the head coach for the program, and has specifically volunteered with teams at Solana Pacific Elementary (Hovercraft, Microbe Mission), Carmel Valley Middle School (Bottle Rocket), and Torrey Pines High School (Hovercraft).

In Wisconsin, Christopher learned how many extra hours teachers put in organizing and inspiring kids, and he knew extra support was crucial, especially when their time and resources are so limited. It was a natural progression to continue with Science Olympiad when the Days moved to 92130. “I love how the children are exposed to so many topics involving many different skill sets,” he confirmed. “The Science Olympiad organization has really created a gem of a program that operates in every state, so I feel my time is well spent helping them at all levels.”

Name: Christopher Day
Community: Carmel Valley
Volunteer Affiliation: Science Olympiad Head Coach
Profession: Lecturer at UCSD, Division of Biological Sciences
Hobbies: Orienteering, and anything in nature
Favorite Local Spots: Torrey Pines State beach and Caroline’s Seaside Cafe

Group: Science Olympiad
Mission: To enjoy and explore STEM topics in a team environment.
Contact: 608-238-7218

volunteer_day3Born in Britain, Christopher came to the U.S. in 1992. His wife is from Shanghai. They met as scientists, working on both coasts and in the Midwest. “We are here to stay and love the diversity that is the U.S.,” he smiled. He has made several observations through his Science Olympiad experience: it’s common for students to come back to elementary and middle schools to help, which fosters a culture of volunteering at a young age, and this exposes girls to STEM early, helping them realize they can thrive and be the best at what they do.

If Christopher could grant the students he works with one wish, it would be to give them the exhilaration of discovery. Science Olympiad is not about memorization; rather, critical thinking and problem solving. “My experience is that if we raise the bar high, and Science Olympiad really does this, then the next generation of scientists and engineers will be well prepared for what the future holds.” He feels his biggest accomplishment is generating a genuine curiosity in the students who are learning about the different sciences. “Success is when kids go home and are excited to share their science with anyone who will listen.”