Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Math Prize for Girls contestants

Ashley Cho, Heidi Chen, and Anagha Tolpadi at Saturday's Math Prize for Girls in Manhattan. We are proud to claim all three as members of the Albany Area Math Circle.

Ashley and Heidi attend Emma Willard School, where they are leading other students in preparing for the upcoming Harvard-MIT Math Tournament in February. Both are boarding school students from overseas; Ashley is a junior and Heidi is a senior. Anagha is a senior at Niskayuna High School.

Ashley is a 2008 USAMO qualifier who was a member of Albany Area Math Circle's NYSML team, which ranked 3rd in the New York State A-division in 2009. Ashley tied for 25th place at Saturday's contest, bringing home one of the beautiful crystal honorable mention trophies you can see sparking in the background of the photo at right. The competitive field was exceptionally strong, including many students from all over the country who have won medals in international competition, making Ashley's honor all the more impressive. Ashley was the highest scoring student from any school in New York State.

Heidi is also an outstanding math student, who was selected to participate in the 2009 Princeton Summer Workshop in Mathematics. Heidi has twice been named to the Upstate NY ARML team, an all-star math team representing all of Upstate New York at the national American Regions Math League (ARML) tournament held simultaneously at four college campuses across the country in June each year.

Anagha is a multi-talented student at Niskayuna High School, where she is editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. She got her start in math contests as a sixth grader at Iroquois Middle School, where her first math-team coach was AAMC member Alison Miller. She went on to achieve many honors, including qualifying for the American Invitational Math Exam while still an eighth grader. Now Anagha is paying it forward by coaching the Iroquois Middle School team herself. Two years ago, she coached the team all the way to the state finals, and she is working hard to encourage them again. She is also an enthusiastic mentor for our middle school math circle. Here's what she has written about her experiences working with younger students:

I volunteer my time coaching MATHCOUNTS at my former middle school. I had participated when I was in middle school and I had loved it then. As a coach, everything is certainly different, but honestly, I love it even more now. I expect a great deal from the kids, and they know it, which makes them work harder. To be able to help kids problem solve and teach them new concepts is like nothing else in this world. There is nothing better than watching a kid's face light up when he figures out a problem, knowing that you helped him get there.

All three of these outstanding students have clearly learned and put into practice the most important lesson we try to share with all members of Albany Area Math Circle: the best way to deepen your own understanding of mathematics and problem solving is to reach out and help someone else!

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