U. T. Dallas’ Creative Problem Solving
Teams Perform Well in Global Competition

UTD Takes Its Largest Group of Students Ever to Tournament

RICHARDSON, Texas (June 1, 2005) — The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) took two firsts, two seconds and a third-place honor at the academically driven Destination ImagiNation Global Finals competition held in Knoxville, Tenn., last weekend. It was the university’s fifth year in a row to finish with high marks in the international tournament.

UTD fielded five teams made up of 28 students (the university’s largest participation yet) at this year’s event, which was held May 25–28 on the campus of the University of Tennessee. The contest is designed to teach students how to work together to solve complex problems in team environments, as well as how to recognize that there can be multiple solutions to a problem.

Approximately 800 teams (elementary school though the university level), made up of more than 8,000 students from 47 states and 28 countries, participated in the tournament and chose from among five categories in which to compete — Sudden SerenDIpity, DIzzy Derby, Live! It’s RaDIo DI!, IMPROVing Along and DIsigning Bridges. An additional category, DI Extreme, was added for university-level teams.

UTD’s Sudden SerenDIpity team finished first in its category. The team members developed and presented an original story that included an example of an initial invention and a serendipitous invention that resulted from the creation of the initial invention.

The DIsigning Bridges team from UTD also finished first in its category, which required the team to build a bridge out of wood, glue and fishing line and then present a story about a “bridge” between two nation’s cultures.

The DIzzy Derby team placed second in its category, which involved designing a reliable vehicle with a technical energy source that could race around a triangular track while transporting one or more team members.

The Live! It’s RaDIo DI team also placed second. The team was required to create an original radio show and perform live for the audience. The team also won a DaVinci Award in the category, which is given for having a unique solution, for risk taking and for outstanding creativity.

Finally, the IMPROVing Along team placed third in its category, which required the team to create a mode of transportation and an on-the-spot skit that included an improvisational travel game.

DI Extreme is a creative problem-solving category designed especially for university-level students.  Teams receive a list of supplies that must be brought to the tournament; once there, the team members are given a challenge and have three hours to find a solution.  UTD had two students compete in two DI Extreme challenges, and their teams took second and fifth places.

Other universities fielding teams included Clarkson University in New York, Texas Christian University, Texas A&M University, Baylor University, Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania.

The five UTD teams began preparing for the tournament last fall and included students Megan Malone, Nicholas Cowling, Gemma Smith, Ben Lotzer, Annie Luu, Lesley Wilsker, David Albrecht, Matt Jamison, Martin Barker, Liam Skoyles, Benedict Voit, Walter Voit, James Fickenscher, Jordan Youngblood, Laura Rashedi, Bobby Janecka, Richard Badgett, Dara Wilsker, Melissa Lent, Jane Dooley, Patrick Dooley, Laura Hirschy, Hannah Frank, Jessica Naden, Bill Anderson, Ben Connors, Nate Hannon and Richard Thomas.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 14,000 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.