By Katie Pratt

The University of Kentucky Department of Agricultural Economics’ Academic Bowl team recently earned back-to-back national championships.

The team won the double elimination tournament at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association’s annual meeting from July 31-Aug.1 in Chicago. Team members are Erica Rogers, Jordan Champion and Zoe Gabrielson. UK post-doctoral scholar Jerrod Penn was the team’s coach and agricultural economics professor Wuyang Hu was the advisor. Additional team members include Cori Green, Josey Moore and Rachel Hart.

“Having the opportunity to coach and become friends with the students on our quiz bowl team is one of the best and most rewarding experiences I have had at UK,” Penn said. “I'm thankful I played a part in their success this year and in the past. Whether they win or not, their eagerness and dedication impress me over and over again.”

The team began practicing in the fall and spent countless hours learning economic and statistical theories and principles on top of the information they were learning in the classroom. Their eagerness to learn and determination to win helped put them on top, Hu said.

“What makes the team unique is their hard work and team-player attitude,” he said. “These are not the traits of a few members of the team, but all. Their hard work has earned us the national championship twice in a row, and we are showing the entire country how dedicated and determined students from the University of Kentucky are.”

Academic bowl competitions carry many benefits besides the opportunity to take home a trophy. Students learn all aspects of agricultural economics and develop a better understanding of how these areas connect to each other. They also get to meet and network with peers from across the United States and get to participate in a national conference where they are encouraged to enter graduate programs.

Penn and Hu have spearheaded the ag economics teams since 2011, producing two national championships and one national runner-up.