Asbury Math Students Compete in International Contest
February 1, 2016
Wilmore, Ky. – Long hours, surplus caffeine and complex math problems combined to create an unforgettable experience for Asbury University Math majors over the weekend.
Three teams of Asbury students participated in the 29th-annual Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications (COMAP) Math Modeling Contest. A long-standing Asbury tradition, Math Modeling allows students to put their classroom skills to work on complex, real-world problems, participate in an international competition and make memories along the way.
Drawing entries from more than 5,000 teams around the world, the COMAP Math Modeling Contest kicked off Thursday evening. Asbury’s Math Modeling teams included the following students:
Team 1: Joo Won Jun ‘16, Seth Heinss ‘18, Meg Hull
Team 2: Robert Williams ‘17, Daniel Gallutia ‘17, Drew Ward
Team 3: Will Turner ’18, Young Kim ‘18, Clay Harrison ‘18
Additional students served as research assistants (Harold Brabon ‘16, Tyler Thompson, Margaret Whitworth ‘19, Eric Brown ‘18, Garrison Wright, Kristyn Roller and Nathan Callon ‘17) and coaching assistants (Stephanie Chen ‘16 and Todd Yoder).
After this year’s questions were released, each team selected a problem and spent the next four days developing solutions, testing their models and writing a paper to share their results.
“Math Modeling gives us a chance to put what we learn into real world problems,” said Joo Won Jun ’16. “Being able to solve it gives you a sense of accomplishment, because there’s no set answer. It makes you the owner of this question.”
Math Modeling isn’t an entirely cerebral experience, though — Jun says camaraderie is equally important.
“This is a place where we can be really nerdy and talk about things we’re all interested in,” Jun said. We can just talk about the math and come up with an idea, and that’s what makes it special. It’s school-related, but it doesn’t feel stressful.”
Asbury Academy student Meg Hull says Math Modeling is also an exciting way to interact with real-world problems. Over the weekend, Hull’s team developed a model to predict water scarcity in a region of their choice over the next 15 years and proposed an intervention policy to help alleviate water shortages.
“There are facets of Math Modeling for every area of interest,” Hull said. “Whether you want to do civil engineering, applied mathematics, political science, finance or any number of things, Math Modeling has real-world applications.”
Dr. David Coulliette, an Asbury Math professor and faculty advisor for Math Modeling, says the annual event is a great example of what distinguishes Asbury’s Math Department.
“We try to do mathematics differently here,” Coulliette said. “We have a strong focus on collegiality, teamwork and collaboration. It’s a terrific way not only to build relationships, but also to learn to communicate ideas effectively — an invaluable skill for the professional world.”
Competition results are expected later this spring.
To learn more about Asbury’s Math Department, visit: asbury.edu/math