Roanoke math whizzes rack up honors in problem solving competition

The team of Gabe Giersch, Kayla Klingensmith and Katie Thornton (from left to right) won honorable mention in this year's Mathematical Competition in Modeling.

The team of Gabe Giersch, Kayla Klingensmith and Katie Thornton (from left to right) won honorable mention in this year's Mathematical Competition in Modeling.

Earlier this year, two teams of students from Roanoke College received high recognition through the annual Mathematical Competition in Modeling.

Student teams from across the country have a four-day weekend to construct both a mathematical model and report for this annual competition, which is run by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications. The task involves imagination, mathematical knowledge and application.

The two Roanoke teams had to design a theoretical plan for placing campsites along an isolated river.  The students considered several obstacles, including designating the largest number of sites within minimum distance to the river while still maintaining the privacy and morale of other campers.

Roanoke mathematics professor, Dr. Roland Minton, was the adviser for the groups, and he also teaches a Problem Solving class that prepares students for these types of puzzles. A total of 3,697 teams from 16 countries participated in the competition.

"Teams must decide which aspects of the problem to take on, and which to ignore," Minton said. "This year's teams did an outstanding job of identifying which aspects of the problem were vital to a solution and which were of marginal importance."

Ed Hrinya and Lizzi Ciskowski (pictured to the left), who made up one of Roanoke's teams, finished with the third highest rating, placing them in the top 2 percent of all teams. Roanoke's other team of Katie Thornton, Kayla Klingensmith and Gabe Giersch earned honorable mention (top 20%).  The groups' performances were the most successful showings by two Virginia teams.

In the Southeast region, the only other school to share equal success with Roanoke was Duke University. Students from schools such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, Cornell University and Washington and Lee University also received honorable mention.

 

For more information about the competition, read the full article here.

Released: May 24, 2012
Contact Name: Public Relations
Contact Phone: (540) 375-2282
Contact Email: gereaux@roanoke.edu