Event Draws World's Top 'Problem Solvers'
By Janice Palmer
Some of the world's brightest students gathered at UConn June 6-9 to solve some of the world's most challenging problems. Strategies for dealing with man-made disasters in the wake of Sept. 11 were just one of the many subjects tackled during the 27th annual Future Problem Solving Program's International Conference.
More than 1,800 students in grades 4-12, from Australia, British Columbia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, competed for the title of International Champion. The conference featured three separate competitions: community problem solving, future problem solving, and scenario writing. To become eligible for the international competition, 250,000 students competed at local and state levels in at least one of the categories.
The Neag School of Education and the College of Continuing Studies hosted the conference and will do so again next year. UConn, home of the Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development and the National Research Center for the Gifted and Talented, is an appropriate choice for an event that draws students of high caliber nationally and internationally to the campus.
"We are proud to be chosen as the new site for this competition and are happy to show these talented students what UConn has to offer," said Sally Reis, head of the Neag School's educational psychology department and board member of the Future Problem Solving Program.
"We believe this event enhances the general reputation of UConn as a place where the most talented students want to attend college. Most of these students are from out of state and we want them here!" she said.
The Future Problem Solving Program is a not-for-profit educational organization with affiliates in 41 states and four countries. The program helps students develop creative thinking skills, increase awareness and interest in the future, learn and employ problem-solving strategies, develop team work skills, improve oral and written communication, engage in real-life problem solving, explore complex societal issues, and develop research techniques.