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College team wins national Knowledge Bowl

December 7, 2015
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Calvin College 2015 Knowledge Bowl team
A five-member team from Calvin College won the national 2015 Knowledge Bowl: Lauren Schrotenboer, left, Makenzie Kuipers, Janelle Agren, Kendra Burmeister and Sarah Weiss. Courtesy Calvin

A team of college students has won a national Knowledge Bowl by an association focused on speech, language and hearing.

Winning team

The five-member team representing Calvin College’s chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, or NSSLHA, competed last month against nine academic institutions to win the Knowledge Bowl at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, or ASHA, Convention in Denver.

During the Battle of the Regions: NSSLHA Knowledge Bowl, 10 five-member teams from regions across the U.S. participated in a competition based on questions similar to the Praxis national board exam.

Calvin College’s team — comprised of Lauren Schrotenboer, Sarah Weiss, Kendra Burmeister, Janelle Agren and Makenzie Kuipers — was awarded a $1,000 prize for winning the Knowledge Bowl.

Calvin said the $1,000 will be used by the chapter to serve the community and help pay for Girls’ Club, a local outreach to young adults who are developmentally delayed.

The competition

As a “Jeopardy”-style game, the competition used multiple-choice questions ranging from 100 to 500 points per clue to test students’ clinical and academic knowledge in various categories: Clear My Throat, Back to Basics, Can You Hear Me Now, Mixed Bag and Neurological Disorders.

Burmeister, a second-year student in Calvin’s speech-language pathology master’s program, indicated the questions were a mixture of case study and knowledge, such as deciding what type of treatment would be appropriate for a client with dementia who also has a swallowing disorder.

“It is pretty impressive that we won, given we were up against students from larger universities who had prepared specifically for this competition,” Burmeister said.

Teams from institutions across the nation competed in the NSSLHA Knowledge Bowl: Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions, Long Island University, Marshall University, University of the District of Columbia, University of Nebraska, University of Iowa, Southeastern Louisiana University, New Mexico State University and Chapman University.

Three-day convention

The 2015 ASHA Convention invites speech, language and hearing scientists, as well as speech-language pathologists and audiologists to explore research, improve their treatment techniques and learn new tools and resources during the three-day conference.

During the NSSLHA Experience part of the program, graduate and undergraduate students are invited to participate in a number of activities developed specifically by students for students, such as the Knowledge Bowl.

Denise Makuch, NSSLHA faculty advisor at Calvin, said it was a privilege for the 10 Calvin students to be able to attend the ASHA Convention.

“The ASHA conference is the biggest conference in the field,” Makuch said. “It’s attended by 14,000 speech-language pathologists and audiologists, as well as students. It has cutting-edge information presented by leaders in our field.”

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