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Chickasaw 'drama nerd' finds outlet in creative competition

Odyssey of the Mind rewards unique problem solving for Stillwater native

A self-described "drama nerd" is getting the opportunity to flex her creative muscle on the world stage, thanks to support from her tribe.

Stillwater-native Madi Green, a Chickasaw student at Oklahoma State University, is a member of the University's Odyssey of the Mind team. The team, the first in university history, earned first place at the competition's World Finals last summer.

It is the first time since 2005 an Oklahoma team has taken first place at Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.

Green said Odyssey of the Mind requires students to think "outside the box" and work as a team to achieve success.

"Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem solving competition where teams are presented with a situation and they have to come up with a solution to solve the problem," Green said.

During competition, teams are given a set of parameters and build, write or otherwise create something that meets those parameters. Teams may choose from five different categories; three are mechanical and two are acting and art based.

Her team favors the latter of the five, art and acting.

"Mostly because we don't enjoy engineering that much," she said.

The OSU team participated in a category that required members to compose and perform a play and include a replica of a real architectural structure built between the years 1000 and 1600. The performance also had to include three works of art that disappeared, and two characters that embarked on a quest to find them.

College commitments forced the OSU team to wait until two weeks prior to the competition to get started on their submission. Team members went about designing and building the set, creating props, sewing costumes, writing the play and creating characters. Each team member had a different task.

Among other items, teams are judged on the appearance of sets and costumes, and creative use of materials in the production.

Green enjoyed every minute spent creating the skit. It tells the story of a soldier and a scholar in ancient Persia who go on a quest to recover three works of art - a poem, a song and a statue.

"I am a graphic design major and it allowed me to incorporate (art and design) and I was really excited to do it," she said.

The team worked on its project up until it was time to compete. "It was hard and we got frustrated, but we spent three weeks together and became family," she said.

As a college freshman, it was Green's first experience at the World Finals, but not her first experience with the competition. She and the same core group of members placed second in regional and state competition as Stillwater High School seniors, just by "having fun with it."

"We knew we couldn't go to World's because it would interfere with (high school) graduation," she said. "So, we decided to take a risk and have fun. It was the one of the most fun things I have ever done."

OSU team members include Hunter Akin, Robin Clower, Logan Sirbaugh, Mason Strom, all of Stillwater, and Claire Choquette and Lauren Schlepp, both of Edmond, Okla. The group agreed that since the team had already experienced winning first place, the goal for the 2014 competition was not to have a repeat performance. The new goal is to win a "Ranatra Fusca" award, given to the team that has the most creative "out of the box" submission.

The team is already working on its submission for the 2014 Worlds Finals, set for late May at Iowa State University.

The college level of the world-wide competition is still very small, but it is growing and Ms. Green is excited to be at the beginning.

Meeting like-minded people from around the world at the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals is another reason she enjoys participating.

"Everyone there is a theatre or art nerd and attends for a common cause," she said. "It's just a whole lot of fun."

Chickasaw Support

Being Chickasaw, Green said, helped her expand horizons.

"As a student, the Chickasaws offer so many opportunities and scholarships," she said. "It is helping pay for college and I wouldn't be able participate in Odyssey of the Mind without that support. It is definitely something to be proud of."

Green's ultimate "dream job" is to work for French Vogue and end her career as a professor. She is interested in exploring options for a career in graphic design, particularly in branding and imaging.

Green's parents are Curtis and Amy Green, of Stillwater. Her grandparents are Lavita and Richard Green.

For more information about Odyssey of the Mind, visit http://www.odysseyofthemind.com.

 

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