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May 2, 2019

Each winter, Asbury University students hide away in the Hamann-Ray Science Center for four days of team work and caffeinated mathematical frenzy, diligently solving equations during the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP) Mathematical Contest in Modeling. Now, students are enjoying the fruits of their labor with one Asbury team receiving a Meritorious score, putting them in the top eight percent of all teams.

Asbury’s Meritorious team was comprised of freshmen Jahred Hull ’22, Eleni Buss ’22 and Virginia Hallman ’22.

“It was a little bit of a surprise to place so well during our first math modeling experience,” Buss said. “The whole time we had just been focused on learning the ropes and how to go through this whole process. The result was just a plus. We were happy with our work and were pleased to find out the judges were too.”

Only one percent of the teams that competed in this year’s Math Modeling Contest were from American universities with 11,262 teams competing in total.  

Math modeling equations focus on real-life issues that mathematicians might work to solve in the workplace. During the competition, Buss, Hallman and Hull worked to redesign the evacuation plan for the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.

“My teammates really highlight the great aspects of working in a group to tackle an immense problem,” Hull said. “The major point that I take away from this is the power of applying mathematics to all components of society, whether it’s city planning, security procedures or technological advances. Mathematics is always working in the background to help society move in a more constructive direction.”

Eleni Buss ’22 during the 2019 math modeling competition.

As both a mathematics professor and alumnus of Asbury, Dr. Dave Coulliette ’81 was proud to see this year’s all-freshman team place in the Meritorious category. For Coulliette, the results speak largely to Asbury’s unique environment of academic excellence and spiritual vitality, in addition to the quality of the University’s Mathematics Department.

“We use external measures like COMAP scores as an objective measure of quality for our program, so these results are confirmation that our programs can compete with any math programs,” Coulliette said. “It also confirms that the Lord continues to draw exceptional students to AU Math. We have a decades-long legacy of outstanding performers from our program. We have a particularly strong group of students on board now and we’re really grateful for them!”

As for Buss and her teammates? They’re happy for all that they learned during their first go-round in math modeling and are looking forward to competing again next year.

“All three of us learned a great deal from this competition,” Buss said. “We had a lot of great help from all the seasoned teams at Asbury which we paid close attention to. That helped in the long run.”

Learn more about the Mathematics Department at Asbury University.