I really wish the keynote speaker knew what scioly was. and wasn't weird, outdated, and patronizing towards women and female people; I think we all knew that women could do science before he got up on that stage and blew our minds
I'm really quite surprised by this statement and wonder if you can elaborate? While we've come a long way in recent years, there is still an unfortunate disparity with regards to gender ratios in STEM fields compared to to the general population. Middle school aged girls in particular still face a lot of pressure and 'burn-out' of interest in STEM at too high of rates. Thus any opportunity to highlight positive female STEM-related role models should be applauded in my opinion, which is exactly what he was encouraged to do as part of his keynote.
I also don't know why you'd think Grant is 'outdated'. The final episode of Mythbusters first aired only 3 years ago, and the re-runs are still incredibly popular. For most of the current demographic age group of Science Olympiad participants, Mythbusters was one of the hit shows they watched over the past few years. This was evident by the reaction of the audience to him coming on stage - I can't recall a reaction like that to any other keynote speaker in recent history.
Finally, while we all eat / drink / breath Science Olympiad, it's relatively unknown to the general population. It's EXTREMELY rare for us to get a keynote speaker at a National Tournament that knows beforehand about SO. Anyone that we could get it likely to have limited broad base appeal since they probably are focused on a very specific field or domain.
I don’t know about y’all but on our team, the girls collectively have wayyyyyy more medals than the guys, so our whole team was not fond of his speech. Also a celebrity for the keynote speaker could be Mark Rober. Idk if he’s like expensive or anything but he is pretty smart (worked for NASA) and does know about scioly (he went to nats 2016 I think).
I don't really want to get into the weeds of this topic, but I do want to point out that female participation in Science Olympiad is reliably
higher than the gender ratios in STEM fields in college and beyond would suggest. It's possible that this is a generational phenomenon, and Gen Z will end up bringing a more even distribution (which would be great), but it's also fair for speakers to bring up the topic, since it's still a very hot-button topic in education nowadays. The short answer is that nobody really knows exactly what causes the disparity, and that nobody knows exactly how to solve it, so it remains a complex problem.