K-State agriculture students put classroom knowledge to the test during academic quadrathlon

0
345
MaRyka Smith, senior in animal sciences and industry, Taylor Ochsner, junior in animal sciences and industry, Cameron Hayden, junior in animal sciences and industry, and Jenna Chance, freshman in animal sciences and industry, won the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry’s Academic Quadrathlon. (Molly Bertz | The Collegian)

Kansas State College of Agriculture students tested their talents last week while competing in the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry’s Academic Quadrathlon.

Seventy-six students from across the college competed in teams of four for a chance at the champion title. Teams competed in a lab practicum, written exam, quiz bowl and oral presentation in hopes to win with the highest combined score.

The academic quadrathlon is a long-standing tradition in the animal science department, beginning in 1982. On average, 13 teams compete in the competition, but a record 19 teams participated in this year’s event. Karol Fike, professor in animal sciences and industry and coordinator of the quadrathlon competition, said she attributes this feat to her colleagues.

“We have significant faculty, graduate student and staff leadership beyond myself that contribute to making the event a success,” Fike said. “There are other faculty members who provide leadership to the oral presentation, quiz bowl, written exam and lab practicum portions of the competition.”

Cassie Jones, professor in animal sciences and industry, said her experience competing in the competition during her undergraduate career at K-State was one of her favorite memories.

“I was fortunate to be on a winning ASI quadrathlon team my freshman year of college, and we represented K-State at regionals,” Jones said. “As a student, I participated because it was a fun thing to do with my friends. The potential prize money and belt buckle were certainly motivating factors, as well. That experience, and especially the regional competition, exposed me to a network of students and faculty that I otherwise never would have interacted with.”

“Participating in the ASI quadrathlon as a student was a fun thing to do with my friends, and ended up helping me understand how all the disciplines and classes I was taking are interrelated,” Jones said.

Now as a faculty member in animal sciences and industry, Jones said she continues to see the benefits of the competition and provides incentives for students to participate.

“As a faculty member, I now give extra credit as a small extra incentive for students in my animal nutrition class to participate,” Jones said. “I understand the value that the critical thinking and extracurricular experience of the animal science quadrathlon brings to our students.”

Winning team members received a $100 cash prize each for every event, while the overall team also won custom belt buckles. Second place team members won $50 in gift certificates.

Cami Roth, senior in beef cattle management and a member of the 2016 champion academic quadrathlon team, knows what it takes to win the coveted title.

“Our upper-level animal science classes, such as anatomy and physiology, reproduction, beef science, nutrition and feeding helped to give us an edge,” Roth said. “To prepare for the oral presentation, (our team) met several times before the competition to come up with our skit.”

While knowledge was valuable, Roth said she attributes their success to teamwork.

“We had a team of great people who had a fun time together and made the quadrathlon a very rewarding experience,” Roth said.

For the past three years, Gage Nichols, junior in animal sciences and industry, has competed in the quadrathlon. This year, Nichols’ team placed fourth overall.

“I do the quadrathlon competition every year because it gives me a chance not only to have a fun time with friends, but also apply the knowledge I have gained here at K-State,” Nichols said. “It is also fun to see what I have not learned or do not remember.”

The 2017 champion academic quadrathlon team consisted of MaRyka Smith, senior in animal sciences and industry, Taylor Ochsner, junior in animal sciences and industry, Cameron Hayden, junior in animal sciences and industry and Jenna Chance, freshman in animal sciences and industry. All four individuals will travel to Omaha, Nebraska, to represent K-State at the Midwest Academic Quadrathlon in March.

I believe our variability of experience is what really set us apart,” Smith said. “It was a collective effort. We are extremely excited to compete at regionals and hopefully nationals.”

Advertisement