North Central College - Naperville, IL

High school students meet for science, engineering contest

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Contact: Nancy Dunker, associate director of media relations, 630-637-5306

March 2, 2010--Some 450 students from 45 area high schools will match their academic skills against their peers during the annual World Youth Science and Engineering (WYSE) Academic Challenge at North Central College.

The sectional challenge will take place on Thursday, March 18, and be hosted by the North Central College Board of Trustee Associates. Top placers will advance to state competition in April. The annual Illinois WYSE challenge is sponsored by the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"One of the goals of WYSE is to increase student interest in the sciences and in engineering," said event organizer Richard Wilders, North Central's Marie and Bernice Gantzert Professor in the Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor and chair of mathematics. "This competition always attracts two local powerhouses, Naperville North and Naperville Central high schools."

After welcome and opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. in the College's Pfeiffer Hall, participating scholars will meet in classrooms across campus to tackle exams in mathematics, English, chemistry, biology, computer science, physics and engineering graphics.

The Academic Challenge is a competitive series of tests created and administered by WYSE and offered to high school students in Illinois and Missouri at more than 50 colleges and universities. Test material is drawn from senior high school and freshman level college curricula and written by teams of college and university faculty. Students compete as individuals and as part of a team. The 2010 WYSE state finals will be April 19-22 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Test scores will be tabulated in time for an awards ceremony at 1 p.m. in Pfeiffer Hall. Awards will be given to individual students and teams in each academic area.

Students who compete at WYSE and later attend North Central College may be eligible for a scholarship funded by the College's Board of Trustee Associates. For more information about WYSE or North Central College's scholars programs for talented high school students, contact Wilders at 630-637-5234 or

North Central College offers both B.A. and B.S. degrees in mathematics with focused study in pure mathematics, applied mathematics or actuarial science. The program prepares students for successful careers in education, actuarial science and wide range of math-related jobs in business and academia.

Founded in 1861, North Central College is an independent, comprehensive college of the liberal arts and sciences that offers more than 55 undergraduate majors and graduate programming in six areas. With more than 2,798 undergraduate and graduate students, North Central College is recognized as one of "America's Best Colleges" by U.S. News & World Report, which cites it as one of the top six schools in the Midwest for "Strong Commitment to Undergraduate Teaching"; as "a college for high-achieving students" by Peterson's Competitive Colleges; as one of "America's Best Colleges" by Forbes; among a select number of schools profiled in Kaplan's Unofficial Insider's Guide to the 320 Most Interesting Colleges; and as one of Princeton Review's "Best in the Midwest" Colleges.