Qudsi will compete in "Disease Detectives," which focuses on the effects of disease on populations, as well as "Anatomy and Physiology," a test-based event on the nervous, urinary and digestive systems.
“It allows me to actually learn about the human body, which I just find really fascinating," he said.
Qudsi noted that though Science Olympiad is academically oriented, it is highly competitive, much like interscholastic athletics.
"There’s actually a lot of excitement, and when you actually do score high, you really do have the same sort of adrenaline rush that you get from a sports event," he said.
The PHS club, which gives members high-school credit, meets once a week after school with Mousseau and assistant coaches Sonal Patel-Dame, who teaches chemistry and biology at PHS; Wendy DeMane, a technology teacher at the school; PHS chemistry teacher Steve Tice; and Justin Collins, a former team president who is now in college.
Much of the preparation for the events, however, is done by students on their own time.
“Coaches help you along the way, but most of the studying is done by yourself,” said PHS sophomore Leo Lee, who, among other events, participates in "Triple E," which requires recognition of a plethora of exotic, endangered and extinct organisms.
Leo and fellow PHS sophomore Risha Sheni will also take part in the State Olympiad's "Water Quality" event, for which they will look to organisms present in water to help them determine its quality.
But while some students participate in test- and lab-based events, others, like PHS juniors Walker Gosrich and Jake Messner, are drawn to events based in technology and engineering.
"I love the science, and I love the engineering and the practical experience that I’m getting," said Gosrich, who, with Messner, began building a robotic arm last August for the competition.