Northwood’s Odyssey of the Mind team placed 9th at the national Technology Student Association (TSA) Tests of Engineering Aptitude Mathematics and Science (TEAMS) competition held in Orlando, Florida from June 21-23.
Juniors William Pandes, Vinayaka Srinivas, David Choi, Snehin Rajkumar, Eric Jin, Atharva Sathe, Manav Manivannan and sophomore Nikhil Rajagopal were members of the team advised by science teacher Kent Paris.
“I wasn’t expecting us to place in the top 10,” Manivannan said. “All I remember is the utter disbelief on our faces when they announced our team’s name, as we couldn’t believe we had placed this high.”
The competition consists of three parts: prepared presentation, essay and problem solving. A team’s ranking is based on their overall performance in the three categories.
This year’s theme was “Engineering the Environment.” The team did research on water contamination in Bangladesh for their prepared presentation, wrote about solving the issue of food deserts—impoverished areas where it is difficult to find affordable fresh fruit— for their essay, and built an air filtration system for the problem solving category—the only category in which they had no prior preparation.
The competition was a fun and enriching experience, according to members of the team.
“I had an excellent time as captain of the TSA team from Northwood,” Srinivas said. “Winning top 10 in the nation was amazing, and I am very proud of our team.”
However, placing in the top 10 came after months of rigorous studying and preparation and a few stressful moments throughout the competition.
“Whether it was turning in an essay at 11:58 or presenting to a panel of judges, it was really stressful and I was nervous,” said Pandes, who, along with Srinivas, also participated last year when Northwood placed 8th in the nation. “Luckily I had my team to help me through it.”
Members of the team say they look forward to participating in the national competition next year, which will be held during the 2018 TSA Conference from June 22-26 in Atlanta, Georgia.
“This was definitely an unforgettable experience and I can’t wait to come back next year and see if we can place even higher,” Manivannan said.