A Not-So-Trivial Pursuit

Published in MIT News on September 17, 2014, by Elizabeth Durant, Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education

In high school, Ernesto Ramirez had a routine he followed religiously: Every weeknight, he’d stay up late to watch David Letterman on TV, followed by the “Jeopardy!” game show. “Then I could finally call it a night,” he says. The self-described trivia buff developed a passion for “useless knowledge,” and dreamed of becoming a contestant on a quiz show one day.              

Ernesto Ramirez '15So it’s no surprise that Ramirez, now a senior at MIT, jumped at the chance to compete in the "Hispanic College Quiz," a nationally televised game show series airing this fall. The show was created in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15) to encourage a greater understanding of and appreciation for Latino and Hispanic heritage. Ramirez is the first MIT student to compete in the "Hispanic College Quiz."

Preparing for the show was not a trivial undertaking. This summer Ramirez, a Course 2 major, spent about five hours a day studying an encyclopedia of Latino and Hispanic history and culture — on top of doing research for the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory's marine robotics group, teaching physics for the Office of Minority Education’s (OME) Interphase EDGE program, and working at Camp Kesem, a summer camp for kids whose parents have been afflicted by cancer...

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