Author Archives: Marianna Zhang

2017 Morgan Costa-Rhodes Memorial Scholarship winner

Congratulations to the inaugural winner of the Morgan Costa-Rhodes Memorial Scholarship: Casey Wetherbee from Ithaca High School (Ithaca, NY)!

Casey is a high school senior who will be attending Georgetown University next year, where he plans to continue playing quizbowl. For more about Casey, check out his #ThisIsQuizbowl profile from January!

PACE would also like to thank the other applicants this year. We were incredibly impressed by your applications, which made for a strong and fierce scholarship competition. We look forward to future years of awarding the Costa-Rhodes Scholarship!

2017 Benjamin Cooper Awards: Now Accepting Nominations

PACE is pleased to announce that we are now accepting nominations for the 2017 Benjamin Cooper Academic Ambassador Awards. The Cooper awards, which recognize those who contribute to the “spirit and honor of quizbowl competition,” will be presented at the 2017 PACE National Scholastic Championship in Rosemont, Illinois, on June 10-11.

The Benjamin Cooper Academic Ambassador Award will be given to a coach, advisor, administrator, tournament organizer, or other person who has made significant contributions to high school quizbowl. A second award, the Young Ambassador Award, will be given to someone affiliated with a college or high school program who, despite their young age, has already made valuable contributions to the high school academic competition community. Nominations will be accepted through April 1, 2017, and the winners will be announced at the beginning of May. For more information on the award and the nomination process, please see below.

The Benjamin Cooper Awards:

The Benjamin Cooper Academic Ambassador Award and the Young Ambassador Award recognize those who have made substantial contributions to the “spirit and honor of quizbowl competition.” Benjamin Cooper, for whom the award is named, was a model student at the Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC, who was well-liked among his colleagues and the faculty. He participated in many activities in school and in service to the community. Because of his enthusiasm and encouragement to promote academic competition among his team members, he was selected as the captain of the varsity team for the 1997-1998 school year. On August 12, 1997, Ben was tragically killed in an automobile accident while returning from his summer job.

The first Cooper Award was presented by PACE to Georgetown Day School team advisor Sue Ikenberry in honor of Ben at the 1998 NSC. Subsequent awards have been presented every year, and a complete list of winners is available on the PACE website. The Young Ambassador Award was first presented at the 2004 NSC.

How to Nominate:

Any member of the quizbowl community is eligible for the Cooper Award. Eligibility for the Young Ambassador Award is restricted to those currently affiliated with high school or college programs. Because there are always many deserving candidates, PACE welcomes re-nomination of those nominated last year who have continued to contribute to the quizbowl community.

To submit a nomination, please compose a statement of no more than 1,000 words detailing your nominee’s contributions to the quizbowl community. This statement should include a summary of positions held by the nominee as well as a specific explanation of why, in your opinion, they have contributed to the “spirit and honor of quizbowl competition.” Organizations are eligible for nomination, as are small groups of individuals who have collaborated on their quizbowl work.

Please email your nomination statement to this year’s Cooper Award coordinator, Jonathan Pinyan, at no later than April 1, 2017. To make sure they’re easily found, please put “Cooper Nomination” in the subject line of the email, and clearly specify in the text if you are nominating someone for the Young Ambassador Award. I (Jonathan) will confirm receipt of your nomination within a few days of the time you submit it (if you haven’t heard back from me within a few days, please send me a follow-up). In your email, please include your contact information in case the PACE Cooper Award Committee wishes to contact you for additional information about the nominee. All nomination statements are strictly confidential and will be seen only by the PACE members involved in the selection process.

Announcement of Winners:

Members of the PACE Cooper Award Committee will deliberate throughout the month of April. The winners will be announced on the message board and on the PACE website during the first week of May. The awards will be formally presented to the winners on the first day of the 2017 NSC.

If you have any questions about this year’s Cooper Award or to submit a nomination, please contact Jon Pinyan at

2017 NSC Hotel Information

The 2017 NSC will be held in the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Chicago on June 10-11, 2017.

General Hotel Information
The Hyatt Regency O’Hare is located at:
9300 Bryn Mawr Ave
Rosemont, IL 60018

Room Reservations
PACE has reserved a block in the Hyatt Regency specifically for attending teams and their affiliated people. Rooms in this block can be reserved at a discounted rate of $159 per room per night. All rates are per room per night and are subject to local tax and fees (subject to change). Reservations will not be accepted without a valid credit card guarantee of one night’s room rate plus tax for each room reserved.

Reservations must be made by Monday, May 1, 2017, to guarantee the discounted tournament rates. After that date, room blocks will be released and rooms and rates will be based on availability. All changes, cancellations, and inquiries reservations should be made directly with the hotel.

NSC attendees can reserve a room through either of two methods:
Through this booking link,
– Or by calling the Hyatt Regency O’Hare directly at 847-696-1234. Reference the 2017 PACE NSC room block.

Indicate any special needs you may have when making reservations. A confirmation will be sent to you by email shortly after booking.

A word of warning: Unauthorized organizations may contact you and try to sell you a room at a discounted price. They are commonly called room pirates and are not in any way connected to PACE’s organization or the tournament. The only authorized way to purchase a room is directly through the Hyatt room booking link listed above, or by calling the Hyatt. If you have any questions, please contact Bernadette Spencer at

We recommend teams traveling by flight fly to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). The Hyatt Regency is only 2 miles east of the airport, and offers a complimentary 24 hour shuttle service to and from domestic airport terminals every 15 minutes.

More information about the hotel and transportation options can be found at the official hotel website.

Overflow Hotel
If the Hyatt Regency is full, we recommend the Doubletree O’Hare, just down the street from the Hyatt Regency. The Doubletree has a complimentary airport shuttle.

The Morgan Costa-Rhodes Memorial Scholarship

PACE is proud to announce the Morgan Costa-Rhodes Memorial Scholarship, a one-time $2000 college scholarship for current high school seniors. PACE plans on awarding this scholarship annually.

About Morgan Costa-Rhodes
During her short time at Parkersburg High School, Morgan Costa-Rhodes achieved success in every area in which she was involved. In 2011, Morgan was elected President of the high school’s Philosophy Club, was an active member of both the Debate team and Thespian Troupe #264, and, most notably, was a member of PHS’s A-team for the Quiz Bowl as Parkersburg High School became West Virginia’s state Quiz Bowl champions in 2011. She was also an artist; Morgan’s art was selected as the winner of the Young Authors Festival’s cover art contest for their annual publication. Serving as artist for PHS’S journalism staff, she also drew the design used for her thespian troupes t-shirts, made especially for their performance of Alice in Wonderland.

Morgan made the most of her time in life. This scholarship serves to commemorate her spirit as a philanthropist, an intellectual force, and a person who was just all-around happy to be here.

Current high school seniors are eligible for this one-time $2000 scholarship. No immediate relatives of PACE Members are eligible.

Students who 1) have demonstrated an interest in quizbowl, 2) have performed community service, and 3) have financial need, are encouraged to apply. These three criteria will be weighted equally.

Required materials
To apply, applicants should email the following materials to
– Name, address, email address, guardian name, guardian email address, high school, and FAFSA Expected Family Contribution (EFC). If and only if the FAFSA EFC does not accurately portray the applicant’s financial need situation, applicants may add a short description of their financial need, maximum one page. If a student cannot obtain a FAFSA score for one reason or another, they can email to discuss alternative ways to demonstrate financial need.
– A description of the applicant’s high school quizbowl career, at most one page.
– A description of the applicant’s community service, at most one page. Community service need not be quizbowl-related.
– A reference letter from an adult who is familiar with the student’s quizbowl experience and/or the student’s community service. This letter should be sent directly from the adult, not from the student, with the student’s name included in the subject line of the email.

Applications will be considered on the equal basis of the applicant’s demonstrated interest in quizbowl, community service, and financial need. Applications will be reviewed blindly by a member of the Costa family as well as four PACE Members selected by and including the PACE President. The recipient will be selected by a consensus among these five people.

Important dates
The deadline for applications is March 1, 2017 to
Notifications will be made April 1, 2017.

The scholarship money will be sent directly to the college unless the recipient provides a reason why it should be handled otherwise.

For any questions regarding the scholarship, please contact

PACE NSC 2018: June 2-3, Washington, DC

The Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence is proud to announce that the 2018 National Scholastic Championship will be held at the Hyatt Regency Reston in Reston, VA, part of the Washington, DC metro area, on June 2-3, 2018.

The Hyatt Regency Reston has been the site of the 2015 NSC, as well as numerous quizbowl national championships. PACE looks forward to bringing teams another high-quality tournament in the NSC tradition.

More details are forthcoming.