Brilliant minds compete at this year’s Brain Bowl competition

It was down to the wire at the Brain Bowl last week when the final question which would declare the winning team came up. 

“In a May 2011 interview, Steve Forbes called for a return to this to stabilize the value of the dollar,” Kathy Kaminski, the moderator, said. 

Both teams, Easy Ed’s and Safis, began to scramble to write down their answers as the audience stared in confusion. After about a minute, the teams had locked in their answers.

First came Safis. They had $900 to begin with and wagered all of it in the final. They answered the question correctly with, “The Gold Standard.” 

Next came Easy Ed’s. They were up by $100 coming into the final and wagered $801. 

The tension began to grow in the room as everyone waited in anticipation. 

After a moment of silence for the teams, Kaminski announced that Easy Ed’s also guessed “The Gold Standard,” pushing them ahead by $1 and winning them the Brain Bowl. 

For Anna Bennett, a member of the winning team, this was a moment she had been looking forward to since she started participating in the Brain Bowl. 

“I was asked to participate by my professor, as I competed last time,” Bennett said. “[The best part was] definitely bringing home first place this time.”

According to Janelle McDaniel, the coordinator of the Brain Bowl, this is an annual event hosted by the College of Business of Social Sciences. It gives students a chance to interact with professors and others in their field in a less professional way while having fun and learning interesting facts related to their major. 

“The Brain Bowl began years ago for the purpose of encouraging students and faculty to interact outside the classroom and to get to know each other better,” McDaniel said. “It is really great for faculty to get the opportunity to work with students in informal ways so that they can see that we care about their learning and that we want them to enjoy our topics and our college as much as we do.” 

This year the Brain Bowl kicked off the CBSS Symposium, ‘The Human/Machine Connection,’ which consisted of over a dozen speakers from various fields in business and social sciences.

McDaniel said the Brain Bowl opens the symposium because it starts the events in a light hearted way, which opens up students, giving them the opportunity to make connections.

“We like to give students opportunities to meet people in the jobs that they want, so that they can think of real role models, not just ideas about what their jobs and lives will be like in the future,” McDaniel said. 

For many students and faculty, this was their first time participating in the Brain Bowl. 

Daniel Hummel, an assistant professor of political science, has only been at ULM for a year but when he heard about the Brain Bowl, he knew he had to participate. 

“I love activities like this on campus [because] it’s a great way to build our campus community and engage students, faculty and staff,” Hummel said. “I knew I would have fun and I was not disappointed.”

Hummel said events like these reap benefits in the classroom because they allow professors and students to get to know each other and have fun together which strengthens the campus community. 

“Those networks of support that develop in that climate are crucial for all other areas on campus including performance in the classroom and beyond,” Hummel said.