Just wanted to give everyone an update on this. There are a lot of good ideas being suggested here. We've reached out to a couple of them and unfortunately either haven't heard back or get channeled through professional speaker reps. As it's those reps job to maximize the income of themselves and their clients, none of them have been willing to entertain a discount in the very significant speaker fees. As there is only so much budget to go around, we don't feel it's appropriate to spend close to a third of the projected tournament budget on a single person.
In the past, when there has been direct communication with the keynote speakers ahead of time, SO has been able to often get them to waive or significantly reduce their fees in light of the nature of the event and the audience. We'd really like to try to establish such communication with some of the people suggested.
THUS, I have 2 requests of the members of scioly:
1. If you have any type of connection to anybody of national prominence that would be appropriate as a keynote, please let me know or try to reach out to them to see if they'd be interested in speaking.
2. It might help if there is a sizable 'grassroots' campaign to contact some of the people listed in this thread (such as Sal Khan, Neil Tyson, the Mythbusters, Bill Nye, etc. etc.). If you are interested in trying to help, please visit the appropriate websites and leave feedback or send emails asking for them to consider speaking at the tournament. Below are some 'factoids' you could potentially use for such a purpose.
Science Olympiad is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of K-12 science education, increasing male, female and minority interest in science, creating a technologically literate workforce and providing recognition for outstanding achievement by both students and teachers. These goals are achieved by participating in Science Olympiad tournaments, incorporating Science Olympiad into classroom curriculum and attending professional development workshops.
For the past 28 years, Science Olympiad has led a revolution in science education. What began as a grassroots assembly of science teachers is now one of the premiere science competitions in the nation, providing rigorous, standards-based challenges to nearly 6,400 teams in 50 states. Science Olympiad's ever-changing event lineup provides a variety of career choices and exposure to practicing scientists and mentors.
The annual national tournament is the culmination of each year’s competitive season, where the best 120 teams from all over the country gather at a host university to compete and celebrate their achievements. This typically includes an energetic and entertaining opening ceremony the night before the competition, where an audience of ~2500 people (including competitors, coaches, parents and event supervisors) participate in activities like a parade of states, keynote presentation (typically involving some sort of demo or activity) and a swap meet / ice cream social. More details on the tournament can be found at: http://www.wright.edu/scienceolympiad/
~1000 of the country's best and brightest Middle School aged students
~1000 of the country's best and brightest High School aged students
~500 Parents / coaches / teachers / event supervisors / volunteers
-From all over the country (~40-70 per State)
-All teams have won regional and state level competitions in order to advance to the National tournament.
-All have demonstrated interest in STEM education
-Also will have ~20 representatives from the Japanese Science Olympiad program present
Date of speech
Friday, May 17, 2013