Engineering Vols won first place—for the second year in a row— in the Academic Technology Bowl at the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Fall Region 3 Conference in Tampa, Florida, November 15–17.
The team included:
- Hunter Mann, senior in computer engineering and current NSBE President
- Mubuso Nkosi, senior in chemical engineering and current NSBE Vice President
- Sydnee Ruff, senior in chemical engineering and current NSBE Program Chair
- Shannon Sharp, junior in mechanical engineering and current NSBE Academic Excellence Chair
- Kassidy Boone, junior in mechanical engineering
The UT NSBE team competed against schools from across the Southeastern Conference, including Auburn, Kennesaw State University, University of Louisville, University of South Florida, and Vanderbilt. They not only won the regional title, but also earned the regional bid to compete at the National Convention, March 25–29, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas.
The technology bowl is designed in a “Jeopardy”-style format with multiple-choice questions. The first-round categories were mathematics, units/conversions, biology, statistics, and engineering economics.
“Our team got off to a bit of a rocky start, no pun intended, as several of those subjects were not our area of expertise,” said Boone. “We decided to play it safe and only answer questions we were confident about.”
Only the top-three first-round teams moved on to the second round. The UT team was in fourth place behind Auburn, University of South Florida, and Kennesaw State before entering “Final Jeopardy.” Their advancement came down to getting that final question correct.
“We were successful and able to compete against Auburn and University of South Florida in the second round,” said Boone.
The second round categories were thermodynamics, statics, dynamics, computer science, and materials science.
“We felt extremely confident going into the second round,” said Boone. “Hunter started off the round gaining us some points from the computer science category. Shannon and I would tag team the statics questions.”
They also earned a lot of points in the thermodynamics and materials science categories.
“I remember answering a thermodynamics question about a topic I had just learned in Dr. Barker’s class a few weeks ago,” said Boone. “In the second round, our team didn’t answer a single question incorrect. When it was time for final jeopardy, the other teams had no chance to beat us because of the point difference.”
The team gained confidence in the turnaround from their the first-round performance.
“We were a bit nervous for the competition, especially since the pressure was on us after winning first place at the regional competition last year,” said Boone. After last year’s win, the NSBE team went on to place third at the 2019 national competition.
“Our biggest goal as we prepare to compete in the national competition again is to make UT’s NSBE chapter a nationally recognized name,” said Boone. “We want to shine a light on our chapter, the college, and the university as places of academic excellence.”