Is a Memorial engineering student Canada's Smartest Person?

Oct 30th, 2015

By Jackey Locke

Memorial engineering student could be Canada's Smartest Person

Winning in the fourth round of CBC’s competition series, Canada’s Smartest Person, on Oct. 25, earned fourth-year electrical engineering student Katy Warren a spot in the finals to compete against six other finalists to claim the title of Canada’s Smartest Person.

The St. John’s-native beat out three other competitors to earn her place in the finals. Competitors completed a series of challenges – definition dilemma; human lie-detector challenge; logical pipe-fitter challenge; stack of shapes challenge and step squad, double-points dance challenge – and the two top scores competed in the final challenge, The Gauntlet, for the big win. While she was very focused on the challenges, Ms. Warren wasn’t sure how it would all turn out.

“It was so close all night, I really couldn’t have been sure until the end of the last challenge when they announced the scores,” she said. “Andrew, one of the competitors, had been comfortably ahead the whole time, so it was a surprise to all of us when Petros, another competitor, and I were tied for the lead after the double-points dance challenge.”

To her surprise, Ms. Warren said the challenge she thought would be the easiest, the definition dilemma challenge, was her toughest. Contestants were given difficult words and were asked to choose their definition, a synonym or an antonym.

“I expected to do well with that one having been in spelling bees when I was younger,” she said. “But those words were really something else! I think I’d only even seen two of them before, so it was a lot of educated guesses.”

Some educated guesses, maybe, but the 21-year-old was confident and calm through all the challenges, smiling her way to the top, which, it turns out, is her strategy for the finale.

“The finale is going to be a whole new kind of challenge,” she said. “All of us have won an episode and shown that we can handle the pressure. It’s a hard thing to prepare for, since all of the challenges are surprises the day we do them, so all I can really do to get ready is practice deep-breathing and get myself emotionally prepared for it. In a high-intensity situation like this the main thing to hold me back would be my own nerves or self-doubt, so if I can get those things out of the way I know it will go much better for me.”

The Canada’s Smartest Person finale will air on CBC TV on Nov. 22, at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT).