After winning the regional Academic WorldQuest competition at the University of Nevada, Reno in January 2017, beating out 13 other teams from Sage Ridge, the Davidson Academy, and even two teams from Fortuna High School in California, four students from Robert McQueen High School returned from the national WorldQuest contest with the highest score ever for a northern Nevada team - 10th place.
The local contest, and assistance to defray the cost of travel to Washington, D.C., have been sponsored since 2014 by the University's Honors Program and the Northern Nevada International Center.
Forty-seven high school teams from around the nation participated in the contest Saturday, April 29, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The day before, the McQueen team was invited to a reception at the U.S. Institute of Peace as well as a personal meeting with newly-elected Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in her Capitol Hill office. After the contest, students stayed another two days in Washington to tour the sights and observe politics up close.
"Academic WorldQuest has been absolutely, without a doubt, the best club I have joined thus far," McQueen High School student Noah Christiansen. "It is a wonderful experience and to have more knowledge about the world really changes your outlook on everything. It is the best decision I've made."
Often, opportunities can be rare in school for local students to follow current events and discuss international affairs, McQueen students are always excited to participate in Academic WorldQuest. They also enjoy having an opportunity to go to the nation's capital and meet with other teams as knowledgeable about current events and global topics as they are.
"In this activity, I have learned so much more about the world around me that I had never even thought about, McQueen High School student Daniel Sedano said. "While I learned about people and places half a world away and a full world away, much of it was surprisingly relevant to my own life. I've learned more about my country's role in the world, and struggles of people I'd never even heard of before. This has truly been an amazing experience."
The Honors Program is an enthusiastic Academic WorldQuest partner. Honors staff and Student Ambassadors are actively involved both to promote recruitment of promising globally minded students and also to showcase great international faculty at the University. More than 15 students who have taken part in Academic WorldQuest have matriculated in Honors since 2014, including two contestants this year. Honors is able to do even more to help publicize the contest thanks to a grant from the University's International Activities Committee.
"The Honors Program is thrilled to partner with Academic WorldQuest," Tamara Valentine, director of the University's Honors Program, said. "This partnership helps the University of Nevada recruit some of the best students in the state, raises the visibility of the Honors Program in the local schools, expands the Honors Program's initiative to internationalize its members, and exposes the young citizens of Nevada to new ideas and global experiences. I hope this relationship continues for many generations to come. "
The fifth annual regional Academic WorldQuest contest will be held in January 2018 on campus, and plans are already underway to celebrate the anniversary in a special way.