Asbury Math Students Hone Skills in Competition

Asbury University students collaborate on complex problems during a worldwide math competition.

WILMORE, Ky. – If you’re interested in working alongside your best friends to solve complex problems with real-world applications, Asbury University’s Math Department is the place for you. In addition to rigorous course work, Asbury Math students enjoy outstanding opportunities to collaborate on research projects. This weekend, 18 of Asbury’s math and science scholars are teaming up in an international competition to challenge their minds and grow in community.

This year is the 31st anniversary of Asbury’s participation in the Consortium of Mathematics and its Applications (COMAP) Mathematical Contest in Modeling, an international competition held each February. Teams of three undergraduate students use their mathematical skills to model solutions to real world problems. Some teams participate in the Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (an extension of the math modeling contest) which is designed to develop and advance interdisciplinary problem-solving skills as well as competence in written communication.

The competition kicked off Thursday evening with a pizza party and rules briefing, with time to download optional problems and discuss with teammates. Students will work all weekend, spending 36 hours working on their problems, sometimes bringing in sleeping bags to the classroom in order to complete the model. On Monday afternoon, the students will submit their work, which will be judged by an international panel. Scores will be delivered by April. 

Asbury University students collaborate on complex problems during a worldwide math competition.

More than 6,000 universities worldwide compete in the competition, including Ivy League Schools like Harvard and Yale. Asbury University was the first college in Kentucky to offer the opportunity to compete, and through the years, Asbury teams have consistently earned “meritorious” ratings (top 15 percent of the competition).

“Most alums say this experience was pivotal for their future,” said Dr. Cheryll Crowe, Math Department chair. “Earning a meritorious ranking in this competition is a great achievement and can set a student apart when writing grad school applications. 

Six Asbury teams are competing this year. Teams are made up of math and science majors from all years. Competitor Sarah Townsend '21 says she decided to attend Asbury University after learning about the Math Modeling Competition.

“You don’t expect a small college to have as rigorous of a math department as larger schools, but when I learned that Asbury offered this competition and program, I knew this was the place for me,” Townsend said. “It’s such a valuable opportunity to participate and use this experience for the future.” 

“We emphasize interactive team building during the competition week,” said Dr. Dave Coulliette, a Math Professor and faculty advisor for Math Modeling. “Each member of the team has a unique skill set to bring to the table. We also encourage campus-wide participation. Friends of competing students will often stop by with food and watch the competition unfold.”

According to Coulliette, Asbury’s Math Department has produced 15 doctorate holders in the last 13 years, and for the last 30 years, the department has enjoyed a 100 percent graduate school acceptance rate.

Check out two more Math Department events:

Math & Art Exhibit — Open through Feb. 20

Asbury Art Gallery (2nd Floor, Johnson Cafeteria)

This collaboration between the Art and Math Departments features the work of Dr. Duk Lee, Professor of Mathematics, as well as alumni and current students. The exhibit will be open until February 20th.

American Mathematics Competition — Feb. 15

Asbury University will serve as a host site for the American Mathematics Competition, precursor assessment for the U.S. Mathematics Olympiad. Please click here for more information about the competition and to register an 8th-12th grade student.

 

— by Cathryn Lien '18

 

To learn more about Asbury's Math Department, visit: asbury.edu/Math.

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