University of Pennsylvania Inaugural Invitational 2017

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roadscholar11
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Re: University of Pennsylvania Inaugural Invitational 2017

Postby roadscholar11 » February 15th, 2017, 1:34 pm

Just wondering, what are the rooms for Game On and Hydrogeology? They don't seem to be posted on the website yet.

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Re: University of Pennsylvania Inaugural Invitational 2017

Postby jonpao523 » February 15th, 2017, 11:37 pm

Just wondering, what are the rooms for Game On and Hydrogeology? They don't seem to be posted on the website yet.
The rooms will be in DRLB (a building with several other events). One will be in DRLB BS1 and the other in DRLB BS2 - we have yet to decide which will be which, but you can expect that decision within a day.

Looking forward to seeing you all Saturday!
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Re: University of Pennsylvania Inaugural Invitational 2017

Postby UPenn » February 17th, 2017, 10:44 am

Hi competitors,

The members at SOUP would just like to clarify that previous posts under the account of 'Penn Scioly' are not in any way affiliated to our tournament. Those posts have been deleted, and we are sorry if it caused any confusion.

See you all really soon!
Penn Science Olympiad

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Re: University of Pennsylvania Inaugural Invitational 2017

Postby lumosityfan » February 18th, 2017, 5:03 pm

1st Mason HS Team A
2nd Harriton HS Team B
3rd Harriton HS Team A
4th Fayetteville-Manlius Team A
5th WWP South Team A
6th Montgomery HS Team A

Congratulations to everyone who participated!
John P. Stevens Class of 2015 (Go Hawks!)
Columbia University Class of 2019 (Go Lions!)
2016-19 UCC Regs Astronomy ES, 2018 NJ States Astronomy ES, 2017 Princeton Helicopters ES, 2018 Princeton WGYN ES

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Re: University of Pennsylvania Inaugural Invitational 2017

Postby fanjiatian » February 20th, 2017, 10:13 am

Worth noting that Heli and Wind Power were unscored
https://www.ezratech.us/competition/uni ... -c/results

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Re: University of Pennsylvania Inaugural Invitational 2017

Postby LowEntropy » February 23rd, 2017, 6:49 pm

I'd like to take the time to give thanks to the SOUP organizers for such a well-run invitational. I would also like to thank those at SOUP for making the raw scores available to competitors, something that isn't typically done at an invitational but I'd love to see in the future.
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Re: University of Pennsylvania Inaugural Invitational 2017

Postby maxxxxx » May 24th, 2017, 3:44 pm

I'm going to lay down my thoughts about the tournament and some feedback in case SOUP has started planning for next year or if any teams are looking to attend next year.

First of all, I really liked how the schedule mimicked the schedules of the National Tournament exactly, including having Disease and Experimental run at the same time for all teams before the 6-timeslot schedule began. Unfortunately, because the buildings did not open until 7:00, which is when the events started, we couldn't get to Penn as early as we would have liked to get settled in before the first events. It might have been because I arrived a little late, but when I got to 33rd street(the designated check-in/arrival area) I didn't see any volunteers and had trouble finding the right building(if anyone was at Disease Detectives, this may have been why they started late). Once I found the correct building, a large number of volunteers did their best to get me and my teammates into the room and ready to go as quickly as possible.

On the topic of the campus, I didn't like how some of the team bases(including my own) were on the opposite side of campus from most of the events and the rest of the team bases. If you take a look at this map, most of the events and I believe an equal proportion of team bases were in either Levine, Towne, or David Rittenhouse Labs, while a minority of team bases and the rooms for WIDI were all found in Williams Hall(which was also locked for most of the day, but that's not SOUP's fault).

It also would have been nice if some of the university's dining halls were open(Houston Hall is open everyday except for Saturday :roll: ) because it does take some time to travel to a nearby shop/vendor and back for lunch. This can also be remedied by teams bringing their own lunch, but there were many out-of-state teams that didn't have this as an option. There was a list of local restaurants on the website, but there was no indication of any them offering delivery, or their distance from campus. Adding something like that to the website next year could be a big help for planning around lunch.

Regarding the website in general. I really liked how there was a somewhat-frequently updated list of competing teams, as well as a list of all of the Event Supervisors. Because of this I was able to affirm with the Disease Detectives supervisor that I could bring my robot arm to the room and leave it there while I took the test, and I didn't have to worry about running across campus to grab it after the event or trying to get a teammate to bring it. One problem with the website was that there was a general lack of any information regarding pretty much anything else on competition day until the week of the competition. That week was very hectic for us because we had only a few days to deal with transportation, individual scheduling, and all of the forms we needed to turn in.

Regarding the actual events, I believe many were run well except for some hiccups in Helicopters and Wind Power. I can't speak for every other event, but the tests I took for Disease Detectives and Invasive Species were very challenging and high quality. The tests for Ecology and Wind Power were nothing special but they were better quality than anything we would usually get in PA so they deserve credit for that. The crew running Robot Arm was very nice and were working very hard to get everyone through as efficiently as possible. I also liked how full raw scores were shared with the teams, especially because the score marked on our Game On rubric was different than what the two columns added up to, so we could see what score we actually got.

I heard there were some problems with the floor that was used for Electric Vehicle(apparently is had a lot of big cracks and dimples?), so maybe look into using a different location for Mousetrap next year. I will also say that the device testing for Wind Power was absolutely atrocious, and that was before a fan broke which caused scores to be voided(more info here), but this won't be an event again for a while.

Overall the day ran very smoothly until the awards ceremony. After a very long day, we were pretty anxious to get to awards, but we were greeted with two keynote speakers. The first speaker, in my team's opinion, was about as boring as the SONT 2017 opening ceremony speaker, and on top of that he spoke about business and not science. The next speaker was much better, the topic got a little confusing at times but the presentation was much more interesting. I appreciate that the people at SOUP cared enough to put in the effort to get us these speakers, but I think it was a little unnecessary. My suggestion for next year would be to limit it to one speaker and instead give the teams a little more time to get dinner before awards start.

Another thing about awards is that they were streamed to Facebook Live, which I think was a great idea. In the future if possible I think it would be better to get better equipment and run a livestream the way other tournaments do(aka not on an iphone from the back of the auditorium). In the future I would suggest put ting an announcement on the website well in advance so parents and anyone else interested will know that they can watch if they were not fortunate enough to find it this year.

I'm also of the opinion that custom medals for invitationals are better than the regular, octagonal, official invitational medals(just look at Cornell, Conestoga, or Tiger). I've also heard that in some cases getting custom medals can be cheaper(not 100% sure about this). I know I'm only one person, but if other people have shared similar sentiments then I would definitely suggest looking into that for next year.

Overall I would give the tournament an 8/10. It was very well run for its first year, but there is definitely a lot that can be approved. I want to thank UPenn, SOUP, and anyone else involved for making an enjoyable tournament, and I recommend this to anyone who is thinking about it for next year.
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Re: University of Pennsylvania Inaugural Invitational 2017

Postby EastStroudsburg13 » May 24th, 2017, 5:12 pm

On the topic of the campus, I didn't like how some of the team bases(including my own) were on the opposite side of campus from most of the events and the rest of the team bases. If you take a look at this map, most of the events and I believe an equal proportion of team bases were in either Levine, Towne, or David Rittenhouse Labs, while a minority of team bases and the rooms for WIDI were all found in Williams Hall(which was also locked for most of the day, but that's not SOUP's fault).
While I can't say for absolute certainty, I highly suspect that this was just based on what spaces they could get. Booking rooms at a university as a university club can be really annoying.
It also would have been nice if some of the university's dining halls were open(Houston Hall is open everyday except for Saturday :roll: ) because it does take some time to travel to a nearby shop/vendor and back for lunch. This can also be remedied by teams bringing their own lunch, but there were many out-of-state teams that didn't have this as an option. There was a list of local restaurants on the website, but there was no indication of any them offering delivery, or their distance from campus. Adding something like that to the website next year could be a big help for planning around lunch.
I don't think they had any control over the dining halls, but I think delivery information would definitely be doable. I'm not sure they thought of it at the time, but that;s why feedback is valuable!
I'm also of the opinion that custom medals for invitationals are better than the regular, octagonal, official invitational medals(just look at Cornell, Conestoga, or Tiger). I've also heard that in some cases getting custom medals can be cheaper(not 100% sure about this). I know I'm only one person, but if other people have shared similar sentiments then I would definitely suggest looking into that for next year.
Aww man, I like those official medals! They felt more, well... official. I guess it's just different tastes.

Overall I think what stood out in terms of the testing events was that all tests were submitted for review. And since everyone involved was experienced, and knew that those who would review it would be experienced, they knew that a quality test was needed. I definitely see this as evidence that young alumni are a resource that is ripe for utilizing at official tournaments, and I do get the sense that we're starting to head in that direction.
East Stroudsburg South Class of 2012, Alumnus of JT Lambert, Drexel University Class of 2017

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Re: University of Pennsylvania Inaugural Invitational 2017

Postby Unome » May 24th, 2017, 5:28 pm

I'm also of the opinion that custom medals for invitationals are better than the regular, octagonal, official invitational medals(just look at Cornell, Conestoga, or Tiger). I've also heard that in some cases getting custom medals can be cheaper(not 100% sure about this). I know I'm only one person, but if other people have shared similar sentiments then I would definitely suggest looking into that for next year.
Aww man, I like those official medals! They felt more, well... official. I guess it's just different tastes.
Same here, I generally find the NSO medals to be pretty good (though I'm not really a fan on the octagonal medals since they look a little strange). Trophies however - custom trophies can be pretty good if they're done right (the standard set of 8 in Ohio is pretty good), especially when there's more than three.
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Re: University of Pennsylvania Inaugural Invitational 2017

Postby Raleway » May 24th, 2017, 7:16 pm

Oooo feedback!

I agree with most of the points listed here :) It was quite a well-run invitational for its first year- similar to Cornell and Princeton (trends!)

It was quite an enjoyable experience, especially with the Insomnia Cookies available for purchase (though at... a faraway Hall and the famous dining hall was actually closed, unfortunately)

I only competed in a few events but my team really, really enjoyed the experience. The keynote speaker (first one) heads the M/T Department at UPenn. That only accepts 50 applicants per year, so it's super aggressive. He spoke primarily about business, but this is really relevant to STEM now. STEM is readily connected to startups now and optimization of commercial products through science, so it only makes sense to talk about business then (no funds = no research or science) and I really enjoyed it

Helicopters: Sigh, this event will always have a bad rep like any other flying event. Personally, it was ok. After years of doing flying events, teams need to know to arrive at least 30 minutes early to watch flights and possible mishaps occur BEFORE your flight. My team went early to watch, and we, unfortunately, saw Harriton get a stuck helicopter. We learned from there and decided to launch opposite of them. The un-scoring of helicopters I feel was unnecessary as each team dealt with the same difficulties. Overall, was a nicer than normal flying venue but the control of traffic was less than decent. Of course, that is understandable as towers was run next to it upstairs, but holding towers in a different venue then might have been better (I don't know room availability)

Materials Science: Overall, not a bad test. It gave some difficult out-there questions and we had difficulty answering it. The lack of a lab and using models was interesting, to say the least but with my experience at Princeton, a lab is really needed to get the idea of a Matsci test, especially at the national level where labs are held. The timing is awkwardly different and the separation of partners to do test/lab is also difficult to deal with on the run, and with many states giving the most basic of labs or no lab, having labs at invitationals are crucial.

Rocks and Minerals: THANK YOU SO MUCH TO WHOEVER GOT REAL SPECIMEN!!! Even though they were probably damaged... having a real specimen to observe is a change from hastily made tests (Cornell) that used the same pictures we had in our binders. Almost everyone uses geology.com, or loads up on pictures from Google Images. Also, the challenging questions that didn't regard just ID were nice in that they actually made our info in the binders worthwhile :)

Overall- 7/10. Getting home super late... was not fun. Although it was well run- I had to run a lot to get to my rooms (I logged 24000 steps). Given however that I had to watch other builds and not just stay in homeroom (I stayed a total of 20 minutes overall to eat lunch there), I might have traveled more. Something definitely to improve on is registration and timing of early events. We rushed our registration block event people to their rooms but got stuck because of the rush to register and get settled. No event should have to be that rushed, especially with the distribution of wristbands needed to compete and putting an event right next to the registration table a regretful decision that hampered our team's ability to get to events on time when teams were registering.

Hope to compete again next year here :)
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