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Penn College Students Assist at Statewide Odyssey of the Mind Competition

Among students staffing the Odyssey of the Mind merchandise table are Jordan M. Miller, foreground, and Jaritza A. Batista-Marcano, at left background.Pennsylvania College of Technology students from a variety of organizations provided event support at Saturday’s statewide Odyssey of the Mind competition, which brought 3,000 to 4,000 people to the Williamsport area.

Students from Phi Theta Kappa (Grant A. Fassett, Timothy E.Funk, Kristina M. Wisneski, Danielle A. Lister, Christiana M. Snyder, Cheryl L. Moore, Robert J. Rowse Jr. and Michelle L. Welkner), Students in Free Enterprise (Brent N. Renninger, Cory L. Buckles and Sara M. Richards), Students Making a Contribution (Adam C. Swan, Rebecca R. Miller, Taylor R. Lapointe, Sarah M. Shivock and Adam R. Moliski), and some non-club students (Lauren E.Luckenbaugh, Dana L. Sims, Corrina L. Cohick, Jaritza A. Batista-Marcano and Ariel L. Woodring) all provided event support at Williamsport Area High School by moving 3,000 pounds of weights and other equipment Friday night and helped staff the merchandising and information tables Saturday.

Lauren E. Luckenbaugh helps a customer at the souvenir stand.Students Jordan M. Miller and David P. Matz, who alsoare employedas audio/video technicians at Penn College, handled all the sound and video projection equipment for the entertainment and award ceremony at the end of the day.Jordan also was the master of ceremonies anddisk jockeyfor the entertainment portion, keeping 3,000 people entertained while officials calculated scores and determined the day’s winners.

Event organizers reported they were very pleased with level of Penn College assistance and the students’ on-the-job enthusiasm.

“I would like to express my thanks for the support provided by … administration, staff and students,” said tournament director Jerry Owens. “It is a great feeling to know that (Penn College) is not only a part of the community, but that they also enhance the the community through efforts such as this.”

In addition to the student volunteers, the college also provided sound and presentation equipment for the event’s award ceremony, laptops for use in competition scoring, work space prior to the event for the event organizers to prepare traffic-control signage, and printing services for the competition program.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college.

Students Making a Contribution are, from left, Adam C. Swan, Rebecca R. Miller, Taylor R. Lapointe, Sarah M. Shivock and Adam R. Moliski.This year’s problems are “Extreme Mousemobiles,” building vehicles powered by mouse traps; “As Good as Gold … berg,” creating a complex solution to a simple problem and market it to the audience; “Le Tour Guide,” presenting an original performance in which a classical character acts as a tour guide; “Unhinged Structure,” creating a folding structure from balsa wood and glue that will need to hold at least 1,000 pounds; and “Full Circle,” a humorous performance with teams changing form and appearance several times.

All problems have a limited budget and their solution must be presented in just eight minutes.

Teams spend several months preparing their solutions, all for one shot to move on from the local completion to the state tournament, and then ultimately the world level. Thousands of teams from the United States, as well as from about 25 other countries, participate in the program. This year’s World Finals will be held at the University of Maryland.

The photos above were provided by Mike M. Cunningham, chief information officer, whose team created the “toaster” solution seen in this news video from WNEP-TV. (An additional gallery is available online.)

Cunningham and Jordan Miller were presented with Omer awards ( named for the organization’s raccoon mascot) for their “hard work, time, effort and unwavering enthusiasm as volunteers” for the event. Omer awards are granted to individuals or teams that show outstanding qualities in the spirit and philosophy of Odyssey of the Mind, explained volunteer Joseph Weber. “Mike and Jordan are to be commended for their efforts and dedication toPennsylvania Odyssey of the Mind.”

This is Cunningham’s second Omer. He was part of a planning team that put together last year’s state tournament for Pennsylvania OOTM’s 35th anniversary.

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