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Local team competing in National Science Bowl

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Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 10:28 pm

Members of the Science Bowl team at the University of Texas at Brownsville’s Math and Science Academy say they’re as ready as they’ll ever be for the 2014 National Science Bowl.

Seniors Joel Solis, Forrest Shriver and Allan Gregorio, and juniors Rolando Treviño Jr. and Paul Lenz qualified for the national bowl by winning the regional science bowl in mid-February at the University of Texas-Pan American.

They departed early Thursday with MSA Principal Wilma Smetter on an all-expenses paid trip to the nation’s capital to compete for the 2014 national title. The competition takes place today through Monday at the National 4-H Center.

The National Science Bowl is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. More than 100 teams from across the country will compete in a fast-paced verbal forum to solve technical problems and answer questions in all branches of science and math.

“At this point, as a team, we’re as prepared as we ever could be,” Shriver said. Lenz added that the material on which the competition is based “is stuff we’ve been practicing since we were 6 or 7.”

Apart from the competition, team members said they hope to visit the Smithsonian Museum and other attractions in the Washington D.C. area.

They said they hope to at least make it past the first round. The questions begin with material from ninth-grade science and get progressively more difficult, up through college-level questions in the final rounds.

Treviño said in his case a big part of the experience will be flying for the first time.

“My teacher said you don’t really understand physics until you’ve been on an airplane,” he said.

Smetter said the Math and Science Academy has been part of UTB since 2007.

It is for high school juniors and seniors who are gifted in math and science, according to the school’s website.

MSA students take classes from UTB faculty alongside UTB students. They get the university experience during high school but have more supervision and guidance than traditional university students.

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