North Carolina School of Science and Math- North Carolina Regional High School Science Bowl

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Coach Sam Wheeler has coached Science Bowl off and on for over 15 years and as his experience has grown, so has the frequency that his team reaches nationals.  If this is a correlation or causation is uncertain.  He is a recovering physics instructor and has been teaching physics for over 20 years at the secondary and university levels.  During this time he has found more ways to fill his students thoughts and time with interesting problems and seemingly conflicting paradoxes.  In 2005 he was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science & Math, and counts himself as one of the fortunate few to also have worked for the U.S. Department of Energy as an Einstein Fellow in 2012-2013.  He recently completed his Ph.D. and is now trying to figure out what to do with his free time.  His passions include physics but also enjoys the natural and biological sciences, space science, being outdoors, traveling, photography, movies, and hanging out with his wife and daughter. 

Jacob Brown is a friend.

Alvin M Chen (Yes, like Alvin and the Chipmunks, and yes like AMC, the math competition) is the other co-captain of NCSSM’s Science Bowl team. He is incredibly thankful to the National Science Bowl competition for refining his skills in arithmetic and helping him discover the best ways to cheer on his team. Despite the fact that he gives frequent, often long-winded messages about team spirit, all his teammates agree that the best part about him is his dog Schuyler, who sometimes walks into his room during practices. When Alvin isn’t busy doing research in math or “studying” physics, he also enjoys playing way too much Tetris, listening to Taylor Swift, getting distracted by squirrels, playing “Take Me Home, Country Roads” on his guitar, and laughing way too hard at his own subpar puns. Alvin’s deepest desire in life is to embody his favorite emoji.

Daniel Sun Jin is the social glue that holds the NCSSM Science Bowl team together. Daniel enjoys going outside but he also likes staying inside. Besides studying about bacteria and rocks, Daniel also enjoys participating in the RWebDev program at NCSSM, in which he refines his skills in Javascript, CSS, FAFSA, and Common App. Besides being busy with schoolwork and Science Bowl, Daniel makes sure he gets eight to ten hours of sleep every night to be on top of his game.

Rasheeq Azad was a bit of a late bloomer. Having only mastered quantum electrodynamics at age two, he found the Higgs boson at age pi/2, and proved general relativity while already in the womb.  Yet it still makes his mother cry to think of how little he’s accomplished. Though he has a hard time speaking to communicate to his teammates, he can make grunting noises to identify what he thinks is the right answer. Of course, that’s only useful for knowing what NOT to say; rigorous statistical analysis shows a supernaturally high rate (>99.9%) of incorrect answers! He sometimes asks Isaac for violin lessons, which are provided out of pity. He uses his free time to participate in coding competitions, though we all know he cheats.

Despite supposedly being bad at bio, Isaac Zhu is at least actually able to (mostly) write his own. He likes to claim his favorite subjects are math and physics, but his true passions are for sleeping, making up excuses to procrastinate, and eating potatoes. In his free time Isaac enjoys playing the violin (though never what our orchestra director wants) and having existential crises about the fine structure constant. These activities are not mutually exclusive. He would like to give a shoutout to turtles and Richard Feynman.

Despite being a supposed bio enthusiast, Melissa Du can’t even be bothered to write her own. A child prodigy, Melissa learned to speak at 17 and ever since then, everybody wishes she hadn’t. Melissa has a lot of science jokes, but for your own safety, we’d advise you not to ask her to tell you any of them. One time, Melissa ate a rock. Yum. Melissa would like to remind you of the wise words of Phillip Phillips: “The trouble it might drag you down/if you get lost you can always be found.” Join the Phillip Phillips Challenge on Facebook!! Melissa has an excellent sleep schedule; often, during Science Bowl practices, it would be about 8 pm, and then Melissa would say, “oop, gotta go, it’s two hours past my bedtime!”