LOWELL ߝ UMass Lowell emerged as the College Bowl Region 1 (New England) team with the highest score in a recent academic quiz competition in Poughkeepsie, NY, qualifying UML to compete in the nationals at the University of Hartford on April 21 to 23. Seventeen teams had competed in the combined Region 1 and Region 2 competition.
The UMass Lowell team is comprised of team captain Damon Orsi of Waltham, a senior majoring in psychology and history; Ryan Beaven of Mansfield, a sophomore majoring in computer science and math; Martin Gray of Holliston, a senior majoring in Sound Recording technology; and Olivia Richard of Auburn, a senior majoring in psychology. These four became a team when they accumulated the highest individual scores at the campus College Bowl competition in November.
Orsi, like many students, had no idea what a College Bowl game was when he first heard about the annual campus competition during his sophomore year. He was unenthusiastic (“I didn’t want to go bowling,” he explained) until his parents described the game. Now president of the College Bowl club on campus, Orsi has been busy between competitions, passing on that explanation and his own enthusiasm for the game to other potential players.
“The game is tough and challenging,” said Orsi. “The questions can cover anything imaginable, including sports, science, literature, history, art, pop culture. It’s surprisingly competitive, especially if you get a couple of questions right ߝ then you’re really reeled in by it.”
*Sample questions include:
- The now widely-banned substances dioxin, DDT and PCBs are poisonous organic compounds combining carbon and what halogen found in common salt?
- It was considered a cute story until the 19th century when workmen digging near his grave found he had, indeed, been buried standing up to take up less space in Poets Corner of Westminster Abbey; who was he?
- What three-syllable name is given to similar-looking but very different plants popularly associated with kissing?
Asst. Prof. Marie Frank, Cultural Studies, serves as the team’s faculty advisor. While Orsi maintains that “you can’t really study for this,” Frank has promised to run the team through an “art boot camp,” so they can improve their scores in that area. Practices will be held on campus over the next several weeks, with assistance from Frank and other faculty members.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell, a comprehensive university with special expertise in applied science and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental, and social health of the region. UML offers its 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students more than 80 degree programs in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management; the School of Health and Environment and the Graduate School of Education. Visit the website at
* Answers to the sample questions above, in the order they were asked: chlorine, Ben Jonson, and mistletoe.
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