Courtesy Jennifer Burleson

Local high schools compete in TU math competition

TU’s second annual mathfest promoted outreach programs to high school students.

Challenging math questions created by volunteers from the TU math department were posed to high school students at TU’s second annual Hurricane Mathfest on Saturday February, 17.

The University of Tulsa Mathematical Association of American (MAA) chapter and the math department hosted the event, which brought together around 90 high school students from eight Tulsa area high schools, including Union, East Central, Cascia Hall, Holland Hall, Edison, Bristow, Riverdale and Bishop Kelley.
Students compete against each other in individual and team competitions.

In the individual competition students are given a list of challenging math problems that they have to complete in 45 minutes. The top five competitors in the individual test, in descending order, were Elaine Wang from Holland Hall, Robert Hale from Riverfield, Julian Zanders from Cascia Hall, Tony Nguyen from Union, and Allan Kalapura from Holland Hall.

Students then competed in teams of three or four for the team competition. They were asked 15 math questions and collaborated on the answers. First place went to the “Front Row Team” of James VanOrsdol from Bristow, Robert Hale from Riverfield and Marian Nguyen from Bishop Kelley. In second place was “Team Wab” from Holland Hall, composed of Anna Byrd, Elaine Wang and Marta Almazovaite. Placing third was “Team Won” from Cascia Hall with Joseph Barbour, Julian Zanders, Grey Bodi and Sebastian Molina.

In addition to the individual and team scores, awards were given out to the two schools with the highest overall achievement, called School of the Day awards. Union won the award for most total points earned, and Holland Hall won the award for the highest average score.

Hurricane Mathfest also included guest speaker Dr. Janica Edmonds, a mathematics professor at TU who talked about Knot Theory.

Dr. Bill Coberly (head of the Mathematics Department), Professor Kimberly Adams and Adriana Rivers as well as 16 student volunteers from TU’s MAA chapter volunteered their time to put on this event.

The idea for Hurricane Mathfest came about a couple of years ago.

“It is the culminating event to gather high school students together who love math and spread the word about future events,” TU mathematics student Nitesh Mathur said.

Mathfest is a way for TU to reach out to high school students. Mathur said, “The TU math department has events for middle-school girls, but once they hit the high school level, there is nothing, the events stop.” The idea of Mathfest is to gather high school students and get the word out about a high school math circle starting at TU after spring break and hosting three events in April. The math circle is to have high school students come to TU and solve math problems together, with the goal of meeting on a weekly basis in the future.

He continued, “The overarching Goal of Mathfest is to promote math outreach with high schools in the form of Hurricane MathFest and High School Math Circle, and to have a platform to organize events for TU students who love mathematics.”

One of those events for TU students will be on March 14, Pi Day. The math department is hosting their first ever Integration Bee. Mathur describes it, “The group Integration Bee will be a fun event that is open to all majors. There will be teams and a SMART Board where integral problems will be put up, and the teams will be judged on speed and accuracy.” There will also be free pie provided.

The idea behind all these events is “to just get together and do math for fun,” Mathur says.

Post Author: tucollegian