CSUN wins 8th Annual Nutrition College Bowl


For the second consecutive year, CSUN won the first place title in the 8th Annual Nutrition College Bowl, a game-show style competition that pits 11 teams of nutrition and dietetic students from universities up and down the West Coast against each other for a series of scholarships.

The event was held on Saturday, April 24, in Sequoia Hall’s Nobbs Auditorium.

“It’s nice to be responsible for an event that trains their futures,”  said Dr. Joyce Gilbert, executive director of the Marilyn Magaram Center and the event’s sponsor.

A nearly full house watched as teams from Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal States Chico, Fresno, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Northridge and San Bernardino, Central Washington State, Pepperdine University and UC Davis answered rounds of questions, increasing in difficulty as the game moved on.

“We try to get different varieties of questions,” said project manager Karmen Ovsepyan, 23, a senior nutrition and dietetics major.  “Some are nutritional, community based and food science related.”

CSUN earned a $1000 scholarship.  A timeline of the event’s past winners distributed in its flier showed that CSUN’s team is no stranger to this achievement as their 2004 and 2009 teams brought home the same honor.

Melissa Sartoris, 23, a graduating senior and nutrition and dietetics major, competed in last year’s winning team, along with 2010 team member Diana Tanus.

“It’s incredibly educational, a great mentoring experience for me and a great learning experience for everyone,” Sartoris said.

Senior nutrition and food science major Amanda Salvestrini, 24, said the team had been working hard for months to prepare.

“We’ve been studying since November with over 2,500 flashcards and online research,”  Salvestrini said.

CSUN’s Nutrition and Food Science Department holds competitions and workshops throughout the year that invite their own and other universities’ students to participate in exercising their mind relevant to their desired careers, such as the Iron Matador Competition, Ovsepyan said.

Marina Tumas, 27, a junior nutrition and dietetics major, said, “It’s more than competition, it’s about learning as much as you can.”

Proving they had been learning as much they could, Central Washington University battled CSUN in the semi-finals and earned their place as runner-up and a $500 scholarship.

“This is interesting because both teams won twice previously,” said Gilbert when the final two teams were determined.

Cal State San Bernardino won third place, earning them a commemorative plaque and $250.

Every team is awarded $100 by the Marilyn Magaram Center to offset their traveling expenses, Gilbert said.

Former American Dietetic Association (ADA) President Martin Yadrick presented students with their certificates and awards.

“Now, more than ever people, in our country recognize the expertise you have,”  Yadrick said.  “Now more than ever they care about their nutrition and combating the obesity problem.”

Yadrick, who presented awards at last year’s event, advised the students to not be afraid to get involved and to foster their desire to make a difference.

The schools eligible to partake in the competition must participate in the Didactic Program in Dietetics and each student competitor must be a nutrition and dietetic major, Ovsepyan said.

In a single-elimination bracket format, two teams competed at a time, disqualifying the lowest score until one was declared the winner.

Each round is comprised of 21 questions, 11 “easy” questions worth five points and nine “hard” questions worth 10 points each, Ovsepyan said.  She added, there is a penalty for wrong answers.