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Clarkson Odyssey Of The Mind Team Competes At World Finals In Orlando

[A photograph of the OM team for newspaper use is available at]

POTSDAM, N.Y. -- The Clarkson University Odyssey of the Mind team recently participated in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals at the EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.The Clarkson University Odyssey of the Mind Team

Odyssey of the Mind (OM) is an international team-based competition in which teams of five to seven students work to solve one of many given problems. This year, Clarkson participated in the structure problem competition. In an event titled "Camouflaged Creation," teams built a small balsa wood and glue structure that was camouflaged as part of a larger structure. The structure had to be no heavier than 15 grams, but capable of holding much larger amounts of weight. The Clarkson project, however, collapsed during the contest; an unstable stage at the competition may have been partly to blame. In any case, the result was an eighth-place finish out of 15 teams that entered.

The eighth-place finish was disappointing, said team member Anna Sawabini, "because we placed third in the same category last year. Our structure didn't hold as much as we thought."

The team, formed in 1997 by Collins and team member Matthew R. Allen, is part of the SPEED program. All Clarkson students get an opportunity to participate in multidisciplinary project- based teams. Each team, comprising students from multiple disciplines and varying skills, constitute a project-based learning community. SPEED receives major financial support from General Electric and General Motors. OM complements Clarkson's continued commitment to team-based learning, helping students get real-world experience which will be vital in the workplace.

The Clarkson/OM connection was never more evident than in awards ceremonies held following the competition. Doug DeFrees, a 1974 Clarkson alumnus, was honored with the Spirit of OM Award for his seven years of volunteer work with OM serving as judge, problem captain, regional judging coordinator and webmaster for the OM website. DeFrees is a software engineer for IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif.

The Clarkson OM team-- all juniors this fall-- included Matthew R. Allen, mechanical and aeronautical engineering, Ogdensburg, N.Y.; Dallas P. Sutton, marketing, Ogdensburg, N.Y.; Nathan C. Cauffman, mechanical and aeronautical engineering, Kennett Square, Pa.; Christopher E. Copeland, interdisciplinary engineering and management, Gainesville, N.Y.; Chad A. McMillan, mathematics, Champlain, N.Y.; and Anna Sawabini, mechanical and aeronautical engineering, East Aurora, N.Y.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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