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Students gather at University of Scranton for physics competition

Newswatch 16's Courtney Harrison shows us how students had to apply their knowledge of physics to finish on top.

SCRANTON, Pa. — On Thursday, 130 high school students from 17 school districts filled the Byron Recreation Complex at the University of Scranton.

They were there for the Hayes Family Science Competition for physics and engineering students. It's a series of events where each team must solve a physics problem, and the team with the most points wins.

"It puts STEM fields under a vista when they're thinking about, 'What can I do? What am I going to do with my life? And stuff like that. Then they come and see how cool Stem is, to see how cool engineering is and stuff, and to get into it," said Declan Mulhall, a physics professor at the University of Scranton.

"This is probably the most interesting way you can do your homework. And it was really fun, even though it was just a bunch of math. It was still really fun, so I think it was great," said Wallenpaupack junior Lucas Ryan.

After a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic, many of the students were happy to have the competition back this year.

"I think it's a really great opportunity for students like me. I'm in Physics II right now, so it's really cool just to see the application of the theories that we learn in class," said North Pocono senior Shivani Patel.

The number of teams that come to this competition has increased every year, and teachers say it's great to have so many students wanting to be involved in STEM programs.

"There's 17 teams this year, and that's after a break in the pandemic. We had, I think, 40 teams three years ago," Mulhall said.

While it's still a competition, it's a good chance for the students to interact with others who share similar interests.

"It's kind of neat, getting to meet other kids, like other seniors and juniors that are competing at the same level as us. We just get to see the competition around the area and physics," said Berwick senior Brendan Turowsky.

It was a clean sweep for Berwick, with all three of the school's teams taking first, second, and third place.

Check out WNEP’s YouTube channel.