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Future Problem Solvers Descend Upon UConn
(Released: May 31, 2002)

By Janice Palmer, Office of University Communications

STORRS, Conn. -- Some of the world's brightest students are gathering at the University of Connecticut to solve some of the world's most challenging problems. Strategies for dealing with man-made disasters in the wake of Sept. 11 will be one of the subjects tackled during the 27th annual Future Problem Solving Program's International Conference held on the UConn campus June 6-9.

More than 1800 students in grades 4-12, from Australia, British Columbia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.S., will compete for the title of International Champion. The conference features three separate competitions: future problem solving, community problem solving, and scenario writing. To become eligible for the international competition, 250,000 students competed at the local and state levels in at least one of the categories.

The Neag School of Education and the College of Continuing Studies are hosting the conference for the next two years. 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 will draw high caliber students nationally and internationally to the campus.

"We are proud to be chosen as the new site for this competition and look forward to showing these talented students what UConn has to offer," says Sally Reis, head of the Neag School's educational psychology department and board member of the Future Problem Solving Program.

"We believe this event will enhance 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 says.

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.

The competitions include:

  • Future Problem Solving (team and individual competition) - Under the guidance of a trained coach, four-member teams research and apply the six-step future problem-solving model to a problem associated with the topic "virtual corporations."

  • Community Problem Solving - Fifty teams will showcase projects that attacked challenges such as violence in schools and environmental and economic concerns in their respective communities. The events of September 11 directed several groups in their thinking and they developed strategies for dealing with manmade disasters, diversity within their school and a campaign to promote blood donations.

  • Scenario Writing - Individual writers create a futurist short story based on one of five topics: alternative energy, educational options, organ donations, environmental law and virtual corporations.

Opening ceremonies are on Thursday, June 6 at 8 p.m. in Gampel Pavilion and the competitions begin on Friday, June 7 at various locations across the campus. Projects will be displayed for public viewing in the Bishop Center on Friday, June 7 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Students will demonstrate how they applied a six-step problem-solving model to a real problem and how their project has made a significant difference in their community. The awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, June 9 at 9 a.m. in Gampel Pavilion.

May 2002 Releases
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