The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter at UT won their third consecutive Academic Tech Bowl in the fall of 2021.
Femia Millo, a mechanical engineering student working in the Tickle College of Engineering’s Office of Diversity Programs, chronicles that win with the following story.
A chemical, biomedical, computer science, and nuclear/mechanical engineer walk in a room. What do they walk out with?
UT’s NSBE chapter won the Academic Tech Bowl at the 2021 NSBE Fall Regional Conference, the third year in a row that the team from UT has done so.
The Academic Tech Bowl is held at both the regional and national conferences and is formatted as a “Jeopardy-style” competition. NSBE chapters from attending universities solve problems in subjects like calculus, chemistry, and thermodynamics, among others.
The unique attribute of this year’s team is that each player had a different background.
“We were down by the second round, but came together to win at the end,” said Kendall Flores, a junior majoring in biomedical engineering.
The team realized that it was important to leverage their strengths and diverse backgrounds in order to make a comeback after being down 200 points in the first round.
Noah Barnes, a senior in chemical engineering, started to get doubtful as the University of Central Florida climbed up the leaderboard. However, the opposing team’s winning streak motivated Barnes, as he correctly solved multiple problems in the thermodynamics category. Additionally, Skylar White, a senior in computer science engineering, was able to attain all points available in the computer science category.
“Skylar solidified our chance of winning,” said Helena Sanders, a junior double-majoring in nuclear and mechanical engineering. “When she started correctly answering questions, that’s when I knew we had it in the bag.”
Sanders encouraged the team to stay focused and to not allow the other team to distract them. By the end of the second round, UT’s team had twice as many points as their opponent.
“Final Jeopardy” was the critical point of victory, with the category regarding NSBE history.
After wagering 700 points, Kendall Flores took the team home as she correctly answered the question of who the first female was to hold a national position within NSBE (Virginia Booth 1978).
Sanders, the team leader, says that she was “glad we were able to make a comeback and uphold the legacy of winning the Academic Tech Bowl.”
The team plans to appoint and coach another legacy-holding team to go on to the next conference to hopefully win another Academic Tech Bowl.