Ohio Mathematics Contest returning to Wright State

Kathy Engisch, Munsup Seoh and Yi Li

From left: Kathy Engisch, associate dean for undergraduate education and outreach; Munsup Seoh, statistics professor; and College of Science and Mathematics Dean Yi Li.

Imagine what it is like working on algebra 1 and 2, geometry, trigonometry and pre-calculus under pressure against hundreds of other bright students. Students in grades four through 11 will be challenged not only in math but also in physics in the Ohio Mathematics Contest.

Wright State will host the contest Saturday, April 18, from 12:30 to 6 p.m.

The deadline to register is April 11. Registration costs $30 for the math or physics test only ($20 for early online registration) or $50 for both tests ($30 for early registration). An awards ceremony will begin at 5 p.m.

The contest is organized by the Dayton branch of the Korean-American Scientists and Engineers Association (KSEA) and hosted by Wright State’s Departments of Mathematics and Statistics and Physics.

For itinerary and more information visit iis.stat.wright.edu/OMC/. To register, visit ksea.org/NMSC/registration.asp and choose “Dayton-OH” among the listed KSEA chapters and branches.

Fourth through seventh grade students will be tested on standard and challenging grade-level topics. Eighth graders will be tested on math through algebra 1; high school freshmen, up to the geometry and algebra 2; sophomores, algebra 2 and trigonometry; and juniors on pre-calculus.

This is the first year that the contest will include a physics test. It will be offered to ninth, 10th and 11th graders.

Similar contests are held in other states and Canada. The winners from each chapter or branch will advance to the National Math and Science Competition headquarters in Washington, D.C., where the national math champions are determined and awarded cash prizes up to $500.

The Ohio Mathematics Contest, a part of National Math and Science Competition, is unique compared to other math contests in the country, said Munsup Seoh, Ph.D., statistics professor at Wright State and president of the KSEA Dayton branch.

Seoh said most contests target specific grades, typically middle school students or high school students, while the Ohio Mathematics Contest combines all upper-level elementary school, middle school and high school students.

Kathy Engisch, Ph.D., associate professor of neuroscience, cell biology and physiology and associate dean for undergraduate education and outreach in the College of Science and Mathematics, said the winner of the local math contest also won the national competition.

Seoh said the math and physics contest will be a challenging and exciting experience for participants.

Wright State encourages the competing students to investigate a further education at Wright State.

“The overall purpose of the contest is to emphasize the importance of math and to stimulate students into thinking about their future,” Seoh said. “We want to promote the STEM field through a little friendly competition.”

“Math can be fun but you have to work at it … like sports. You have to have a goal in mind, and math circles and clubs help you to get there,” said Engisch.

The knowledge of math can help not only a student’s success, but also the education of the nation.

“STEM workforce is critical as a driver for our global competitiveness to this region and to the nation, and mathematics is the key to a top quality STEM education. I applaud the effort of KSEA, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Wright State University and especially through the leadership of Dr. Seoh in their efforts to increase the interests of K-12 in mathematics and find it ‘cool,’” said Yi Li, dean of College and Science and Mathematics.

Each of the ninth-, 10th- and 11th-grade first-place winners will receive $2,500 in annual scholarships for tuition to Wright State for up to four years. The second-place winner in each age bracket will receive $1,000 in annual scholarships, and the third-place winner will receive $500 in annual scholarships.

In addition, the first-, second-, and third-place winners in grades nine, 10 and 11 will receive $150, $100 and $50 in prize money, respectively; the same place winners in grades four through eight will receive $100, $75 and $50.

Parents are included in the events through seminars offered while the students are taking tests. Seminar topics include the university admissions process, careers in science and engineering and financial planning for college.

Cassie Barlow, Ph.D., executive director of the Aerospace Professional Development Center at Wright State and the Advanced Technical Intelligence Center, will give a lecture for parents on “Bridging the Gap: Addressing the Workforce Crisis in STEM” at 2 p.m.

The College of Science and Mathematics is active in other contests, including the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics for students in ninth to 12th grades.

Probability seminars March 21

Wright State’s math department also sponsors the Greater Miami Valley Math Circle.
The math circle will host seminars on probability for students, parents and teachers on Saturday, March 21, in 112 Oelman Hall. The seminars will be led by Po-Shen Loh, assistant professor of mathematical sciences at Carnegie Mellon University.

The seminar for high school students will be held 9:30-11:30 a.m.; middle school students at 1-2:30 p.m.; and for high school and middle school teachers from 2:30-4 p.m.

The event is free, however registration is required. The deadline to register online is March 20.

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