Asbury Math Modeling Teams Create Solutions for International Competition – Asbury University
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Asbury Math Modeling Teams Create Solutions for International Competition

February 7, 2024

Willem Hanssen ’24

During the first week of February, Asbury University’s Department of Mathematics celebrated its 37th annual math modeling competition. Events included lectures by Dr. Sam Figueroa ’83 (software engineer at NVIDIA) and Asbury Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Ben McLaughlin ’07, plus a full weekend of students’ creating solutions to problems posed by the Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications (COMAP).

COMAP’s Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) and Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM) challenge teams of up to three students to analyze, model, solve, and present solution reports to an open-ended application problem. With more than 20,000 teams competing internationally, students worked around the clock from Thursday evening until Monday evening to submit their papers. Learn more:

“Since 1987, Asbury students have been going strong with this competition,” said Professor and Chair of Mathematics Dr. Cheryll Crowe ’03 Johnson. “One of the elements that sets Asbury apart is our emphasis of seeing the beauty that God reveals to creation through mathematics.”

Advised by Asbury professors McLaughlin and Dr. Duk Lee, the 2024 math modeling teams included:

  • MCM Problem A (continuous): Willem Hanssen ’24 and Shiheng Matthew Yuan (Asbury Academy student)
  • MCM Problem B (discrete): Rebekah Bogle ’24, Josef Morstatt ’24, and Katherine Stanley ’24
  • ICM Problem D (operations research/network science): Aaron Hamby ’27, Andrew Gibbons ’27, and Caleb Bill ’24
  • ICM Problem E (sustainability): Talaya Jones ’26, Aaron Raver ’25, and Hayden Smeal ’25

Previous Asbury teams have scored highly in this competition, with a 2019 team earning a Meritorious score (top eight percent of all teams): Jahred Hull ’22, Eleni Buss ’22 and Virginia Hallman ’22.

“In our world today, many people have had negative experiences with math,” Johnson said. “COVID highlighted how essential community is in mathematics as it is not done in isolation. God can redeem those negative math experiences and transform our identity in Him. This competition highlights the beautiful, community-focused, and relational aspects of mathematics.”

Johnson shares the long-term benefits of math modeling at Asbury.

“In 20 years, we have had more than 30 of our math modelers go on to earn PhDs or terminal degrees in the field,” she said. “Many of them are working as research mathematicians, university professors, and business leaders. This transformative undergraduate experience is amazing and ultimately something that God uses for His glory.”

In July, the Department of Mathematics will become the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, adding Computer Science as a major and minor. The Asbury University Shaw School of Sciences offers 15 majors and six minors, including Mathematics, Actuarial Mathematics, Engineering Mathematics, and Mathematics Grades 8-12: