1 Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague; Institute of Botany, Czech Academy of Sciences (CZECH REPUBLIC)
2 Biology&Environmental Studies Dept, Faculty of Education; Dept of Education and Didactics of Biology, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague (CZECH REPUBLIC)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 6442-6450
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
It is known that high-school students’ participation in Science Olympiads is influencing their attitude towards science and such experience increases their passion for science. However, less is known about how the participation in Science Olympiads influences the future career choice.

In this study, we aimed to investigate:
(i) how participants of Czech Biology Olympiad perceive their experience with this competition,
(ii) how this experience changes their attitude towards biology and
(iii) if and how it influences their future career choice.

To answer these questions, we collected data from 9 past participants of the national round of the Biology Olympiad, using in-depth interviews. We included both students who continued their career in biology and students who did not.

In relation to their personal experience with the Biology Olympiad, students highlighted the importance of their scientific progress, insights into research methods, meeting other students with the same interest and contact with academic environment. They often mentioned the contrast between the school biology and biology as presented at the Biology Olympiad. The participation usually deepened their interest in biology or led to higher specialization within the field. Both the students who decided to continue their career in biology and those who did not, stressed the importance of experience with the Biology Olympiad, though in some cases this experience led to the choice of other field of future study. However, the students who did not continue with biology career usually applied to other scientific field, such as physics or medicine.

Our study brings important insights into the process of future career choosing in talented and biology-oriented high-school students and it could have important implications both for biology teaching and organization of other Science Olympiads.
Biology Olympiad, attitude towards biology, future career choice, high school student.