Houston team wins Dolphin Challenge

February 28, 2016

By Cindie Powell

Students from The Village School in Houston won the Dolphin Challenge, the northern regional competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), held in Galveston on Saturday, Feb. 27.

Hosted by the Texas Sea Grant College Program at Texas A&M University, the competition was held on the campus of Texas A&M University at Galveston.

The Village School’s “Team B” of Bin Da Yuan, Jerry Han, Reshmil Patel and Alexandre Ait-Ettajer, coached by Robert Pardue, will advance to the NOSB competition finals April 21-24 in Morehead City, NC. There they will face more than 20 other teams from across the nation, including Brandeis High School in San Antonio, winners of the Loggerhead Challenge, the regional competition for southern Texas that was held on Feb. 6.

Second place honors at the Dolphin Challenge went to the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts’ “Team A,” Mandolin Harris, Krishna Patel, William Duke, Emily Shaver and Jenifer McClain. The team was coached by Lindsey Waddell.

The Village School’s “Team A” captured third place. Coached by Mila Taylor, the team members are Alex Liu, Rohith Karur, Nicholas Vaporciyan, Ryan Quach and Paschalis Economou.

Coppell High School’s Anna Kustar, Anita Kalangara, Nikita Belathur and Tan Yan, coached by Laronna Doggett and Cathy Douglas, won the Ralph Rayburn Sportsmanship Award. Named for the late Associate Director and Extension Program Leader at Texas Sea Grant, the award goes to the team judged by competition officials to best embody the spirit of earnest competition while demonstrating exemplary decorum.

NOSB is a quiz bowl-style competition, in which students answer questions in all disciplines of the ocean sciences: biology, chemistry, physics, geology, geography and the social sciences. It is managed nationally by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. NOSB is designed to encourage and support the next generation of marine scientists, policy makers, teachers, explorers, researchers, technicians and informed citizens to be stewards of the ocean. About 2,000 students from more than 300 high schools around the country participate each year.


First place, The Village School’s “Team B”: Coach Robert Pardue and students Reshmil Patel, Bin Da Yuan, Alexandre Ait-Ettajer and Jerry Han.

Second place, Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts’ “Team A”: Jenifer McClain, Emily Shaver, Coach Lindsey Waddell, Mandolin Harris, Krishna Patel and William Duke.

Third place, The Village School’s “Team A”: In back row, Alex Liu, Rohith Karur, Nicholas Vaporciyan, Ryan Quach and Paschalis Economou; in front, Coach Mila Taylor.

Ralph Rayburn Sportsmanship Award, Coppell High School: Assistant Coach Cathy Douglas, students Tan Yan, Nikita Belathur, Anita Kalangara and Anna Kustar, and Coach Laronna Doggett.


Texas Sea Grant is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the State of Texas and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Texas. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Texas Sea Grant is a non-academic research center in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. The program’s mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.