Champions in Science, Whose Stars are Still Rising: Profile of Ana C. Lauer, National Science Bowl

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2000 National Science Bowl championship high school team.Photo courtesy of National Science Bowl

Ana Lauer (second from the left) on the Parkview HS team of the 2000 National Science Bowl.

"It was super intimidating," recalls Ana Lauer when she joined the Parkview High School's science bowl team in 2000. It was her first year in a new school. "The other three team members were experienced, seniors, who all had competed in the National Science Bowl finals the year before. I was the only girl, the only freshman. They were good players," but Lauer ended up being the high scorer for the team that year.

With Lauer on the team, Parkview High went back to the national event all four years (2000-­2003) she competed. "We never made the top 5 or the finals; it seemed that we would make it to the Double Elimination round, then we'd lose the last round of the night."

"We really enjoyed it – [the] practices and competitions. We would practice two hours, two times a week and became really good friends," said Lauer. "It was fun."

Lauer and teammates showed their commitment each year by making tough choices. NSB Rule #1.4 states a regional winner must commit to take part in all of its events and activities – no waivers. "If team members are involved in these pursuits, the students will need to determine which activities or events are in their best interests and make their selections." For Lauer and her teammates, that meant they had to choose between either competing in the National Science Bowl Championship or attending their school prom. "We chose the science bowl over prom. Every year. It was important to us."

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A current picture of 2000 National Science Bowl Champion Ana Lauer.Photo courtesy of Ana Lauer

Present day photo of Ana Lauer.

"What I learned from the competitions is: It is easy to psych yourself out, based on reputation or standing. But what matters is what you can bring to the table. You can surprise yourself," said Lauer. "My experience in the science bowl competition taught me that ­ maybe I don't know if I can do something, but I am going to try. My science bowl participation has led me to try things that I don't think I would have tried without that [NSB] experience."

Lauer earned her B.S. degree in Biology from MIT, then her Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Dartmouth College. Currently, she is a postdoctoral fellow through the American Society for Microbiology/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research fellowship in the CDC special bacteriology reference laboratory.

"Now, as an alumna, I am passionate about feme education -­ female and minority education. For me, the Science Bowl is a great way to reach people who might not have been exposed to different topics - it can spark a whole new direction in their lives," said Lauer. "I'm still part of NSB; I help run one of the middle school regional tournaments in Atlanta. And I convinced my husband ­- he's a professor at Middle Georgia State College - to start a science bowl team for the high school seniors and juniors in the Georgia GAMES (an early college entrance program).

"My advice to students: join a SB team. It's an experience for making friends and connections. Science Bowl is a great way to show a different side of science, not just sitting in a classroom for a lecture. It's a wide world and there's a lot to discover. You never know what's going to happen."


Please go to Historical Information – National Finals – Profiles of Past Competitors to read more student stories about their NSB experiences.

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Sandra Allen McLean is a Communications Specialist in the Office of Science,