Hispanic engineering students from Evanston score third bowl win
Updated: April 8, 2013 6:14AM
Hispanic students at Evanston Township High School captured their third consecutive National Science Bowl regional title Saturday, earning a third straight trip to Washington, D.C., for the national competition.
Working with a coach from Northwestern University, a team of students from the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Junior Chapter at ETHS defeated more than a dozen teams from eight schools and community organizations.
“It’s a combination of our students’ abilities and the dedication of our Northwestern coaches,” Michelle Vasquez, post-secondary counselor and sponsor of SHPE at ETHS, said of the success of her teams.
This year’s winning team included sophomores Carla Orduno and Rosa Palma, seniors Nancy Cardenas and Jean-Luc Walthall, and junior John Nikolai Lenney. Jerus Flores, an undergraduate engineering student at Northwestern, coached the team.
Orduno, 15, of Evanston, said the keys to the team’s success were working well together, choosing a balanced team, and confidence.
“We evened out,” she said. “There was a balance in what types of science we each knew. For me, I guess it was just confidence in my skills, and everybody else was confident, too.”
Perhaps it was practicing with Flores every Saturday since September or the buzzer system ETHS purchased to help students prepare for the actual completion, Vasquez said.
The Science Bowl, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, utilizes a question system similar to the popular television game show “Jeopardy,” in which contestants must hit a buzzer when they know an answer, she said.
Questions cover all types of science including biology, chemistry, physics and earth science, Vasquez said. Two teams at a time compete against each other in two 8-minute rounds, she said.
Each team gets 4 points for answering a question correctly against the other team, Vasquez said. A team can win an additional 10 points by answering a bonus question correctly after answering a preliminary question correctly, she said.
ETHS’s SHPE junior chapter fields usually fields three teams each year at the annual event, Vasquez said.
“Students attracted from our high school to participate in SHPE are the best of the best,” she said. “They’re highly motivated Latino students who want to do well in (science, technology, engineering and math) careers.”