Interns Enjoy Science Trivia and Competition at 13th Annual Student Jeopardy Tournament

By Joelle Mornini, contributing writer; photos by Chris Worthington
A group photo of the Student Jeopardy Tournament participants

Team H (Akshey Suresh and Manish Singh, wearing crowns), the winners of the 13th Annual Student Science Jeopardy Tournament, with 18 other student participants.

In the Building 549 auditorium, 20 student interns recently gathered to participate in the Scientific Library’s 13th annual Student Science Jeopardy Tournament, with an audience of other interns, mentors, and NCI at Frederick employees there to cheer them on.

Teams of two students participated in three preliminary rounds, with the victors from each round facing off to determine the winning team. Students provided answers to science-themed clues covering a wide range of topics, from biology and chemistry to history of science and current science in the news.

In the end, Akshey Suresh and Manish Singh, otherwise known as Team H, emerged as the Jeopardy Tournament champions, winning the final round with 4,700 points.

Suresh, who works under mentor Suhas Kharat, Ph.D., will be a freshman in the fall at Wake Forest University. Singh, who works under mentor Satheesh Sengodan, Ph.D., will be a sophomore at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

Other student participants included:

  • Team A: Aleena Shahab and Cara Fliegel (third-place winners)
  • Team B: Clarissa Bazan and Kimberly Grasmick
  • Team C: Kiersten Ropp and Michael Sarnecky     
  • Team D: Karly Liebendorfer and Nico DeArcangelis
  • Team E: Maria Nikolaitchik and Nicole Powell (second-place winners)
  • Team F: Esteban Garcia and Jessica Reinhart     
  • Team G: Ryan Puthumana and Ahmed Ali Khan     
  • Team I: Cameron Courtney and Soujanya Viswanathan    
  • Alternate Team: Julia Lizmi and Teairah Velasquez

Contestants received guidance on whether their answers were correct from three judges: Dina Sigano, Ph.D., senior technical laboratory manager of the Chemical Biology Laboratory; Howard Young, Ph.D., senior investigator in the Cancer and Inflammation Program; and Walter Hubert, Ph.D., scientific program director of the Office of Scientific Operations.

Nikolaitchik, a member of Team E who won second place, described the fun atmosphere and interesting science questions during the tournament.

“I'm very glad I signed up in time to play. At first, I thought it was going to be something very serious and competitive, but I was pleasantly surprised when instead I was greeted with a very laid-back day of science trivia,” she said, adding, “I thought the questions were clever and engaging, and it seems like everyone who competed just wanted an opportunity to test their knowledge. If I am to return as an intern next year, I'll be sure to sign up again!”

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