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The “mathletes” from Friedell Middle School were winners at the regional Mathcounts competition at Rochester Community and Technical College.

Mayo Clinic Health System regional vice president in southwestern Wisconsin. Professor of medicine and biomedical ethics at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

And now, Dr. Paul S. Mueller has added another title to his list of accomplishments: Hastings Center Fellow.

Founded in 1969, the Hastings Center is a non-partisan, nonprofit research institution focusing on ethics in health care, science, and technology. The center is comprised of approximately 300 fellows, and Mueller is the third Mayo Clinic consultant to be named one.

In addition to his administrative duties, Dr. Mueller actively researches and publishes in the area of biomedical ethics.

“Being a fellow is humbling and an honor,” he said. “have admired the current fellows for decades. Several fellows are mentors and friends, and being a fellow will strengthen my connections to the biomedical ethics community and enhance my ability to keep abreast of emerging ethical issues in health care and scholarship that goes with it.”

Mueller’s interest in biomedical ethics began upon his arrival at Mayo Clinic in 1995. “I have been especially intrigued by dilemmas that arise during patient care involving life-sustaining technologies, such as pacemakers, implantable cardio-defibrillators and left ventricular assist devices, especially in end-of-life settings,” he said.

As a Hastings Center Fellow, Mueller hopes that it “will raise our (Mayo Clinic) visibility in the biomedical ethics community that we are engaged in cutting-edge scholarship in the field.”

It all adds up

Friedell Middle School teacher Greg Schoenbeck is “pretty sure” he started the Mathcounts Club in 1999. That’s definitely the first year the math team won a trophy.

His current team of students (seventh-graders Armita Kazemi and Andrew Sun and eighth-graders Philip Wisniewski and Katherine Zhu) recently won the regional Mathcounts competition at RCTC and will head to the state meet in March.

While the competition is open to sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grades, the Friedell 2019 team does not have any sixth-graders. The school is only allowed 10 competitors, and Schoenbeck said, they “wind up turning away students every year — which is a great problem to have.” Allowing only seventh- and eighth-graders to participate means they “turn away a smaller number of disappointed students.”

The math students also have a “secret weapon.” Schoenbeck brings a bag of Funyuns snacks for the kids and tells them, “Eat a bunch of Funyuns, and when you are at a table with students from other schools, you exhale quite a bit and the students from opposing teams will be distracted by your onion breath.” They even have an onion on their team T-shirts.

All joking aside, these young students have been practicing and working hard at weekly practice sessions since November 2018.

In addition to Friedell’s first-place team finish, individually Rochester-area students took the top six places out of 106 contestants. First place: Jacob Arroyo, Rochester Area Home-school; Second Place: Philip Wisniewski, Friedell; Third Place: Albert Hu, Friedell; Fourth Place: Golden Peng, Kellogg; Fifth Place: Andrew Sun, Friedell; Sixth Place: Armita Kazemi, Friedell.

Colleen Timimi is a Rochester freelance writer. Seen & Heard highlights local people with interesting stories. Send tips to life@postbulletin.com.

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