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Let’s Bowl!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Columbia University College Bowl contestants Akshay Manglik CC’25, Albert Zhang CC’24, and Forrest Weintraub CC’24

Columbia University College Bowl contestants Akshay Manglik CC’25, Albert Zhang CC’24, and Forrest Weintraub CC’24

Photo courtesy of NBC

Get ready to roar for these Lions three College students will begin competing tomorrow night on Capital One College Bowl, the NBC quiz show hosted by Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. The 10-episode series will feature undergraduates from 16 schools vying for a share of $1 million in scholarship money.

Akshay Manglik CC’25, Forrest Weintraub CC’24 and Albert Zhang CC’24 will represent Columbia, trying their best to hold on to the trophy nabbed by last year’s winning team.

Get to know this year’s Bowlers!


Akshay Manglik CC’25 is a computer science major from San José, Calif. An officer in Columbia’s Quiz Bowl club, he says trivia runs in the family: His older brother was a Quiz Bowler in high school and college, and they would often watch Jeopardy! at home together. His favorite trivia category is American history.

What has been your favorite part of the College Bowl process?

Definitely meeting all the other participants from the other colleges. They’re all very nice, very smart and very fun to hang out with, and we’re all still in touch. I also enjoyed getting to know the other College participants better and bonding at team practices and dinners.

What do you enjoy most about your favorite trivia category?

I enjoy learning about the complex story that’s formed by American history, as well as how moments in American history are still relevant today. Many current issues are the result of a series of (often unexpected) historical events. It’s really interesting to trace the story of how history unfolded — the events, ideas and people behind it — and how it led to our present day.

What do you value most about the College, and how does it feel to be representing CC on the national stage?

I really enjoy the open environment — the students are fun to be around, and I’m constantly learning. I always feel like I’m ready to try new things, and I’ve had so many new experiences in college as a result (e.g., joining a dance team for the first time!). I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet that I’m representing Columbia on national TV, but I’m excited to see how it turns out!


Forrest Weintraub CC’24 is an astrophysics major with a math minor from Fargo, N.D. She first learned about College Bowl from teammate and fellow astrophysics major Zhang. Weintraub says that trivia had been a big part of her life since middle school, when she would skim encyclopedias for fun. Her favorite trivia category is history.

What has been your favorite part of the College Bowl process?

Getting to know my teammates (including our alternate, Lily Collier CC’25, whom I didn’t know before), as well as the competitors we faced from other schools. This show has connected me to what I know will be lifelong friends and I know that’s what I’ll value most when I look back on this experience years from now.

What do you enjoy most about your favorite trivia category?

So many trivia questions about history are easy if you can visualize the world map in your head, and its evolution over time. I’ve always been really interested in maps and geography, and the added layer of how humans have interacted with it means there’s so much more to understand. A particular aspect I like is that, for most quiz bowl questions, you rely heavily on inference; if you know the general trends of history you can usually guess the answer to something you’ve never heard of.

What do you value most about the College, and how does it feel to be representing CC on the national stage?

My favorite thing is the astronomy department. Faculty and students of all levels are kind, brilliant and intent on creating a wholesome and interconnected social environment. It makes being an astronomy student an absolute joy, especially as I get to study a subject I love that unfortunately doesn’t always have the institutional support that we’re lucky to enjoy at the College. Since Albert and I both hail from the astro department, it puts a lot of pressure on our shoulders. But we know that the community here will always have our backs.


Albert Zhang CC’24 is studying astrophysics and computer science, and hails from State College, Pa. He is the president of Columbia Quiz Bowl club and has been participating in quiz bowls and other academic competitions for five years. His favorite trivia categories are history and visual fine arts.

What has been your favorite part of the College Bowl process?

Definitely going to Georgia, where filming took place, and hanging out on set, in the hotel and in Atlanta with my awesome teammates, Akshay, Forrest and Lily, as well as friends from the Quiz Bowl community and all the new friends we made from other schools. It was really fun!

What do you enjoy most about your favorite trivia categories?

I’ve been really interested in learning about art since I took an art history class my freshman year of high school (though I have no artistic ability of my own). And it’s really cool to be able to connect things I’ve learned through competition to artwork in museums when visiting, or getting buzzes off works I’ve seen in person.

What do you value most about the College, and how does it feel to be representing CC on the national stage?

I definitely value the wide range of cultures from across the world you’re encouraged to interact with, especially with the Global Core classes and languages on offer. There are so many interesting topics I would have never thought of learning about on my own. I wish I had more terms here to take them all — double majoring in STEM subjects doesn’t leave me with a lot of time!

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