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Winning in the Academic Arena

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For some college students, academic achievement can be a competitive sport. Meet these two winning teams from Rutgers-Newark.

College Fed Challenge Team

For the fourth time in six years Rutgers-Newark has excelled in the national finals of the prestigious College Fed Challenge competition. The impressive efforts of five R-N undergraduate students garnered a second place showing in Washington, D.C., on November 29, 2011, making this the third time Rutgers-Newark has finished among the nation's top three contenders.

Bested only by the team from Harvard University, the Rutgers-Newark team, coached by Economics Department Chair John Graham, consisted of seniors Victor Castaneda, Guarav Pendse and Sher Singh and juniors Michael Jen and Bryan Myers. The national finals are the culminating event of five district competitions held throughout the United States. The R-N team successfully advanced at the qualifying level to represent the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's district at the national finals. An initiative of the Federal Reserve Board, the College Fed Challenge is intended to spur students' interest in economics and finance as subjects for advanced study and the basis for a career.

Rutgers-Newark Debate Team

With Coach Kurt Shelton at the helm and support from Christopher Kozak, a School of Public Affairs and Administration graduate assistant, the Rutgers-Newark Debate Team continually proves that words are mightier than the sword. At the 2011 Northeast Regional Opener Tournament hosted by Binghamton University, the Rutgers-Newark junior varsity team of Carlos Astacio and Kevon Haughton defeated the team from Cornell University to win the division contest. Also at Binghamton, the varsity team of Elijah Smith and Chris Powers and the junior varsity team of Devane Murphy and Aaron Kraut advanced to the semifinals of each of their divisions. To complement their team efforts, Astacio, Haughton, Kraut, Murphy, Powers and Smith have garnered individual top speaker awards at various events. And in November 2011, the Rutgers-Newark Debate Team added another feather to its cap when it hosted the first collegiate debate tournament ever held at Rutgers-Newark. More than 130 undergraduate students from 13 colleges and universities competed.