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Professors strut their stuff in first College of Science Professor Pageant


Students got to know their professors much better when three faculty members took the stage of Matthews Hall 210 for the first College of Science Professor Pageant, produced by the Purdue Science Student Council.

Professor of Statistics Mark Ward, Computer Science Prof. Buster Dunsmore and Chemistry department head Tim Zwier competed Oct. 29 in challenging question and answer sessions, a speed round of Purdue trivia, a two-minute research pitch and, of course, the talent portion. Sadly, there was no swimsuit or evening gown portion to the show.

The undergraduate dominated crowd enthusiastically cheered on their favorite profs. While all three proved adept at summarizing their reserach and taking on multiple-choice questions on Purdue’s history, Zwier, Dunsmore and Ward shone brightest during the talent portion of the evening.

A longtime tennis coach, Dunsmore conducted a five-minute tennis lesson, concentrating on the sport’s different kinds of shots. The CS vet launched tennis balls into the crowd to illustrate the success of his swings.

With the help of two of his young children, Bruce and Audrey, Ward showed off his family’s origami skills by producing an ornate box made from just one small piece of paper. The audience was given similar sheets and folded along with the Wards.

Zwier’s talent was inspired by his tradition of making his students sing “Hail Purdue” in class before the Boilermaker football team’s home opener. He decided to twist some lyrics around to create a fight song for Chemistry. “Chem Purdue” was debuted by Zwier and the audience sang along to the chorus: “Hail, hail to Chem Purdue/ All hail elements gold and carbon black/ Hail, hail to Chem Purdue/ A catalyst may she never lack/ Borohydride, palladium/ Will raise our yields anew/ Oh, the labs we’ve spent in you/ All hail our Chem Purdue!"

Students voted for their favorite professor and after a dramatic drum roll, Ward was crowned the winner. He was given a comical tiara, feather boa, a bouquet of flowers and an armful of College of Science swag.

Ward said he had a blast competing in the pageant and that he enjoys participating in student-driven events.

Pageant organizers Jien Nee Tai, a junior in chemistry and Mei-Ling Ewbank, a junior in microbiology, announced that the pageant will return in 2015 with the goal of professors from all seven College of Science departments competing, 

Mark Ward wins!

Statistics Prof. Mark Ward (standing) celebrates with students and two of his children after the first College of Science Professor Pageant.

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