USA Memory Championship Team

Tony Dottino founder of USA Memory Championship Dottino Consulting
Michael Dottino CFO USA Memory Championship CEO Brain In The Box Group
Karen Pinson Chief Operating Officer USA Memory Championship

Tony Dottino


Tony founded the USA Memory Championship in November 1997. In 1993, Tony launched the Florida based Dottino Consulting Group, which specializes in creativity, culture change, brain-to-brain communication and process innovation. He has co-authored two books, The BrainSmart Leader (1999) and Grass Roots Leaders: The BrainSmart Revolution in Business (2007), both which provide practical instruction by applying knowledge of how the brain works to improve business results. Tony has been featured in the New York Times, Investor’s Business Daily, Business News, USA Today, Newsweek, Vogue, and Human Capital magazines, as well as on television and radio programs.

Michael Dottino

Chief Financial Officer

Michael is responsible for the financial performance, business development, strategy, and new product development. Prior to joining the organization in 2017, he was a senior finance leader at Walt Disney World for almost 20 years and was responsible for complex financial valuations such as theme parks expansions, new resort development, cruise fleet expansions and the My Magic+ initiative. Mr. Dottino recently was named Chief Executive Officer of Brain In The Box Group, a consulting and training organization specializing in business solutions using a blend of memory techniques, neuroscience, and time-tested strategies.

Karen Pinson

Chief Operating Officer

Karen is critical to making the USA Memory Championship happen. Ms. Pinson develops all of the event games and on the day of event serves as its Director of Operations. Karen is responsible for maintaining the USA Memory Championship website and its presence in key social media outlets. She also serves as the liaison to the Mental Athletes, helping them through the registration process, answering their questions and offering encouragement during the competition. Karen has been working with the organization since 1997.


Key Information About USAMC And 2018 Event

USA Memory Championship Logo
MIT McGovern Brain Institute Logo
Cumberland Valley HS Team Memory Champions 2018

About the USA Memory Championship

The USA Memory Championship was founded in 1997 by Tony Dottino and Marshall Tarley. It is an annual one-day event open to US citizens that invites competitors of age 10 and older to compete for the opportunity to be recognized as that year's United States Memory Champion.

Participants compete in 4 events in the qualifying round and the top performers advance to compete in the finals.  The 2018 qualifying events were Names and Faces, Speed Numbers (random numbers), Poem Memorization, and Speed Cards (memorizing/recalling a deck of 52 cards in the shortest possible time). This year's qualifying round was held on March 17, 2018 in Harrisburg, PA.

Because of their head-to-head competitive nature, the finals are more popular with the audience and create the tension of a sports single elimination tournament.  This year's finals will start with 14 qualifying competitors.  It will consist of 4 live, on-stage events: Words to Remember, Three Strikes and You're Out (names, faces, personal information), It's Been A Long Time (long-term memory), and Double Deck Or Bust (memorizing two decks of 52 cards shuffled together).   This year's finals are being held July 14, 2018 at the McGovern Brain Institute's Kresge Auditorium at MIT, in Cambridge, MA.

For the first half of its existence, USAMC participants typically had no formal memory training. A watershed moment in USAMC history occurred in 2006, when Josh Foer won the Championship and subsequently published his book Moonwalking with Einstein.  Aside from Joshua Foer, previous champions that have appeared on television or in print media include Scott Hagwood, Ram Kolli, Ron White, Chester Santos, Nelson Dellis, and Alex Mullen.

The USAMC has been televised in 3 years of its existence; twice by HDTV and once by Discovery Science. The event has been covered in dozens of newspapers across the country, and articles have been published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and USA Today.

Prior event sponsors have included Con Edison, British Airways, Subway, 3M, Pepsi, Hershey Corporation, and Dottino Consulting Group.  Previous guest speakers at the event have included brain/neuroscience experts such as Dr. Richard Restak, Dr. Majid Fotuhi, Dr. David Perlmutter and Dr. Robert Ajemian.

Event Agenda

Times subject to change

Championship Events in Bold

1:00 -- 1:10 Tony Dottino and Robert Ajemian - Introduction

1:10 -- 1:30 Jim Karol (top 10 mentalist) Long-Term Memory demonstration

1:30 -- 2:00 Words To Remember Event (from 13 contestants to 10)

2:00 -- 2:05 EM Kaye (Executive Director, Brain First Project)

2:05 -- 2:25 Tony Dottino (USAMC Founder and President) "The Fundamentals of Memory Training"

2:25 -- 3:00 Tea Party/Three Strikes You're Out Event (from 10 contestants to 7)

3:00 -- 3:20 Break

3:20 — 3:30 Chris Baldassano (Columbia University) “Tracking Mental Loci Inside the Brain of a Super Mnemonist

3:30 -- 3:40 Karthik Srinivasan (post-doctoral researcher at MIT/McGovern Brain Institute) "Can Memory Training Ward off Dementia?"

3:40 -- 4:10 It's Been A Long Time Event (from 7 contestants to 3)

4:10 -- 4:30 Dr. Robert Ajemian (neuroscience research, professor at MIT/McGovern Brain Institute) "What Does Memory Training Have to do with the Science of Memory"

4:30 -- 4:50 Double Deck Or Bust Event

4:50 -- 5:00 Award Presentation and Wrap-up (prize to be presented by Dr. Bob Desimone, Director of MIT/McGovern Brain Institute, and Chester Santos, International Man of Memory and former USAMC Champion)


Competitors Biographies

Nelson Dellis, 34
- Lives: Miami, FL
- Previous competitions - 4x USAMC Champion (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015)
- Degree: BS in Physics/Math, Masters in Computer Science , University of Miami
- Professional Speaker
- Email:

John Graham, 31
- Lives: Salt Lake City, UT
- Previous Competitions (2015)
- Degree: BS Liberal Studies, Grand State Valley University
- Professional Speaker
- Email:

Ron White, 45
- Lives: Fort Worth, TX
- Previous competitions - 2x USAMC Champion (2009, 2010)
- Degree: High School
- Occupation: Professional Speaker
- Email:

Avi Chavda, 27
- Lives: Flower Mound, TX
- Previous competitions - None
- Degree: Not Available
- Occupation: Physician
- Email:

Claire Wang, 13, legal guardian is Yongbo Wang
- San Marino, CA
- Previous competitions - None and youngest finalist
- Degree: School, in progress
- Occupation: 8th grade student
- Email:

Tracy Miller, 52
- Lives: Kingsport, TN
- Previous competitions - 2016
- Degree: BS Business Administration, University of South Carolina, MBA, University of Phoenix
- Occupation: Director of Finance for Housing Authority in East Tennessee
- Email:

Kyle Matschke, 46
- Lives: Pottstown, PA
- Previous competitions – 2014, 2015, 2016
- Degree: BS Math/Statistics, Winona State University, Masters of Applied Statistics (Ohio State University)
- Occupation: Statistician
- Email:

Matthew Wilson, 27
- Lives: Kirksville, MO
- Previous competitions - none
- Degree: BS Economics, BA Math University of Washington, MS and PhD in Economics, University of Oregon
- Occupation: Economics professor
- Email:

Grace Smith 15, legal guardian Elizabeth Smith
- Lives: Mechanicsburg, PA
- Previous competitions: 2016
- Degree: In School, attends Cumberland Valley HS
- Occupation: Student
- Email:

Tuan Bui, 17, legal guardian Hoa Do
- Lives: Hershey, PA
- Previous competitions: 2016
- Degree: In School, attends Hershey HS
- Occupation: Student
- Email:

Tamanna Sarowar, 18, legal guardian Golam Sarowar
- Lives: Bergenfield, NJ
- Previous competitions: 2016
- Degree: In School, Bergen County Academies
- Occupation: Student
- Email:

Alice Zhu 16, legal guardian Huiping Si
- Lives: Germantown, MD
- Previous competitions: none
- Degree: In School, Richard Montgomery HS
- Occupation: Student
- Email:

Martin Schneider
- Lives: Not available
- Previous competitions: none
- Degree: In Progress, Computer Science
- Occupation: Senior at MIT
- Email:

2018 Event Sponsors

Dottino Consulting Group Sponsor USA Memory Championship
Brain In The Box Group USA Memory Championship Sponsor
Chester Santos USA Memory Championship Sponsor

Dottino Consulting Group

Minds Over Matters

Brain In The Box Group

Practical. Personal. Proven.

Chester Santos

International Man of Memory