OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) High schoolers from all over the world are in town for the 9th GENIUS Olympiad hosted by SUNY Oswego.
The international competition about environmental issues has grown from 200 students in year one to about 1,500 this year.
In all 43 states and 79 countries are represented at this year’s program.
Ivan Lytovchenko, from Ukraine, is making his first trip ever to the United States to attend GENIUS Olympiad.
His project is called Energy Absorbing Breakwater and aims to solve the problems of a lack of fresh water, energy, and shore erosion.
Fengyun Chen, 14, has also never been to America before visiting SUNY Oswego this week.
Chen brought her wind force pressurization and solar project.
“I think this is very meaningful and very attractive,” she tells NewsChannel 9.
The director of the program, Dr. Fehmi Damkaci, says there’s learning beyond the science projects, cultural exchanges are happening at the conference too.
“We have students from areas, two countries next to each other they are in a war zone, they get here they become friends, that’s amazing,” he says.
Omar Van Reenen from Namibia attended the 2015 SUNY Oswego GENIUS Olympiad, his inaugural trip to the United States.
“What makes this science fair unique is that it’s on a college campus, but not just any college campus it’s at a very, very good SUNY school and SUNY institution that opens doors to public education at it’s best,” Van Reenen says.
It led to a scholarship to SUNY Oswego and now Van Reenen is set to graduate from the school next spring.
Van Reenen tells NewsChannel 9, “Every year when GENIUS Olympiad takes place I know that many of the students are going to have the opportunity that I’ve had and I know their lives are going to change as mine has too.”
SUNY Oswego has hosted GENIUS, sponsored by Syracuse’s non-profit Terra Science and Education Inc., each year since its 2011 debut.
Also part of the week’s activities includes the annual College Fair that will provide information about SUNY Oswego and other U.S. colleges and universities from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, June 21, along Marano Campus Center’s concourse.
The festive award ceremony will take place from 1:15 to 3 p.m. June 21 in the arena.
As many competitors travel vast distances to compete in Oswego, GENIUS organizes bonus travel to Niagara Falls, as well as, optionally and for additional cost, to Washington, D.C., and New York City; and a trip that combines those two cities with an Ivy League tour to Boston.