Victoria College student competes in national quiz show
Sept. 18, 2012 at 4:18 a.m.
Updated Sept. 19, 2012 at 4:19 a.m.
It was happenstance that put Ivan Ramirez on a plane to the Chicago in late July.
"It hadn't really hit me until I got to the airport," Ramirez said.
The 19-year-old was on his way to compete in the Hispanic College Quiz Show, produced by Central City Productions and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. He competed with 9 other college students from across the United States.
The Victoria College student was approached by Title V Director Kim Smith about submitting his name as a candidate after another student decided against competing.
"It was a shot in the dark," Ramirez said.
And two weeks later, Ramirez heard from Smith saying he had been selected.
"I was at work when I got the call," the Texas Health Center file clerk said.
Once he got to Chicago and in the studio where the quiz show was shot, the stress became real for the Victoria native.
"During the final round, the lights got hotter and it became much more competitive," Ramirez said. "But after the show, we all got to hang out. One of the contestants even convinced a limo driver to take us back to the hotel from Navy Pier."
Ramirez, who wants to become a doctor, said he spent about a month studying with VC Assistant Tutoring Coordinator Paul Janda eight hours a day on Mondays through Fridays and all day on the weekends.
He credits a studying strategy he learned from the college called "pure recall" for helping him get through the bulk of the material.
While studying for the Hispanic College Quiz Show, the first-generation Mexican-American said he learned a lot about his ethnic background -- things he hadn't noticed before.
"It struck me Hispanics in history are particularly strong-willed," Ramirez said. "A lot of the famous people I learned about came from poverty or were sons and daughters of immigrants."
In his spare time, the oldest of seven said he once spent about four hours clicking through Wikipedia entries on quantum physics.
"I just clicked on everything that was blue," Ramirez said. "I love learning."
The avid learner said his favorite subject in school is chemistry.
"It has this sort of dangerous element I'm attracted to," Ramirez said. "I like imagining the terms in my mind and picturing atoms reacting to one another."
Ramirez said he placed third in the final round of the competition.
"I was a little bit disappointed at first," Ramirez said. "But, in my mind, I had done something I was proud of."
The college sophomore is set to receive $1,500 after the show airs in early October.
"It's all going to my college tuition," Ramirez said. "That's where it's most needed."