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First MSA Science Bowl Team to Compete in Washington, D.C.

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – APRIL 18, 2014 – The University of Texas at Brownsville’s Mathematics and Science Academy will send its first team ever to the U.S. Department of Energy National Science Bowl from Thursday, April 24 to Monday, April 28 at the National 4-H Youth Center in Washington, D.C.
The MSA team placed first in the University of Texas – Pan American’s Regional Science Bowl in mid-February in Edinburg. Team members are juniors Paul Lenz and Rolando Treviño Jr., both of Brownsville, and seniors Allan Gregorio and Forrest Shriver, both of Harlingen, and Joel Solis of Brownsville.
UT Brownsville Math and Science Principal Wilma Smetter, right, with students Paul Lenz, Rolando Treviño Jr., Forrest Shriver, Joel Solis and Allan Gregorio that qualified for the national Science Bowl.
“Winning the Regional Science Bowl solidifies what we already know about our students,” said Dr. Wilma Smetter, MSA Principal. “They work well together, are supportive of each other and they truly enjoy being around others who are like themselves as they all want to be the best that they can be here at UTB.”
The students know the competition will be tougher as they will compete against more than 100 teams from throughout the nation.
“I have seen videos of these high school students competing but I am more curious to find out what they are like when they aren’t competing and how they spend their time outside of the science bowl,” said Solis, 17.
Team members also hope to see some of the places that make Washington, D.C. popular for visitors such as the various monuments and the Smithsonian Institution.
The trip will also mark the first time Treviño, 17, has been on an airplane.
“I am very excited to experience the ride,” he said. “I hope to apply the many great things I learned in my previous physics class as I take off and land during my plane ride.”
Smetter called on engineering, mathematics and physics professors in the College of Science, Mathematics and Technology to tutor the students before the competition.     
Shriver said the group purchased a working buzzer system which made practices feel more like the competition. The group met up to three times a week to practice.
Lenz, 16, went to Smetter last fall to tell her his idea of forming a science bowl team at MSA. He was on a middle school science bowl team which went to the national competition.
“When attending MSA I thought this could be one of the last chances to go there as a student,” said Lenz. “I decided to build a team and get practicing. I enlisted Forrest’s help in assembling the team.” 
Shriver, 18, said at the time he had not heard of the science bowl but was intrigued.
“I actually did most of the recruiting from the senior class and Paul did most of the recruiting from the junior class,” said Shriver. “Together, we started to build the club from the ground up. I established an email account for the club as well as a shared file system and together we began to form the science bowl club.”
The students hope future science bowl teams can be just as successful as they already have been.
“We are definitely setting a high standard for next year’s science bowl team, but I believe that this will serve as a good basis for the future teams to model their structure on and refine our strategies,” said Solis.


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