Students who take part in the Ohio Mathematics Contest are accustomed to counting. And this year, the first-place winners of the April 13 event can count on an offer of up to $10,000 in scholarship money to attend Wright State University.
The first-time offer is designed to reward math achievement and plant a seed with the winners.
“We really like to encourage high-level students—which, by definition, the winners of these contests are—to think of Wright State as a place to come,” said Kathy Engisch, associate dean for undergraduate education and outreach at Wright State. “We consider this a way to communicate with the community and to get students who are at the younger levels to begin to know what Wright State is.”
Each of the 9th, 10th and 11th grade first-place winners will be given $2,500 in annual scholarships each year to be used for tuition to Wright State for up to four years. In addition, the first-, second-, and third-place winners in grades 9 through 11 will receive $150, $100 and $50 in prize money, respectively; the same place winners in grades 4 through 8 will receive, $100, $75 and $50.
The contest could also result in national recognition for area students, culminating in an awards ceremony in the Washington, D.C., area and a cash prize of up to $500.
But more than that, the contest is designed to stimulate interest in math, make both students and parents more aware of the importance of learning math, and result in more students pursuing math as a career or as a way to land high-paying jobs that require strong math skills, such as engineering, medicine, business and many others.
“If someone has some basic skills in mathematics up to a level, then the doors are open; otherwise, doors are shut,” said Yi Li, dean of Wright State’s College of Science and Mathematics. “Math skills provide opportunities, and the thing this nation cannot afford is to have the doors shut for our children in career possibilities.”
Munsup Seoh, statistics professor and president of the Dayton branch of the Korean-American Scientists and Engineers Association, said parental support is crucial in helping develop the math skills of students.
The contest is part of the National Math & Science Competition (NMSC) sponsored by the association and Wright State’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics. A total of 2,500 students participated in the nationwide competition last year, with about 130 of them taking the exam at Wright State.
Contests are held simultaneously in other states, with the winners of each state forwarded to the NMSC headquarter in Washington, D.C., where the national winners are determined.
Last year, the first-place 9th grade national winner—Peter Tian from the Columbus Academy in Hilliard—took the test at Wright State.
All students in grades 4 through 11 are invited to participate in the Ohio contest at Wright State, with first, second and third place winners in each grade. This year, 500 letters of invitation were sent to the math departments in elementary, middle and high schools in eight Ohio counties.
There are 25 questions on each exam, different for each grade and designed to be challenging. The questions were prepared by experts appointed by the NMSC committee.
Students are asked to bring pencils. No calculators or any device that includes a calculator can be used.
While the exams are being administered, parents of the students can undergo free health screenings by Premier Community Health and/or attend presentations that include one on the founding principles of STEM schools. Students may also attend seminars and demonstrations designed for them after they finish their exams.
Walk-in registration begins at 1:15 p.m. in the lobby of Wright State’s Mathematical and Microbiological Sciences Building. Early registration (by April 6) is $20; on-site registration is $30. The exams begin in various buildings at 2 p.m., lasting 50 minutes for grades 4 through 8 and 75 minutes for grades 9 through 11.
To register, please visit: http://www.ksea.org/nmsc/registration.asp
For more information, please visit: http://iis.stat.wright.edu/OMC