Middle School Students Solve Indiana MATHCOUNTS Problems, Earn Summer Program Scholarships

Tuesday, March 15, 2022
A faculty member speaks to a group of students at the Mathcounts competition hosted by Rose-Hulman'

Indiana MATHCOUNTS’ Countdown Round had the top 24 middle school students from earlier rounds testing their problem-solving skills in a high-pressure, game show-style competition in the Hatfield Hall Theater.

Indiana middle school students earned opportunities for college scholarships and representing the state against the nation’s best young problem solvers through the 2022 Indiana MATHCOUNTS competition, hosted March 12 by Rose-Hulman and the Department of Mathematics.

And their quick-thinking math skills could pave the way for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The state championship event brought 115 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students from 45 schools across Indiana to participate in three rounds of competition: Sprint, testing problem-solving speed; Target, testing general problem-solving skills; and Team, testing teamwork problem-solving abilities.

Carmel Middle School seventh grader Edward Chen captured first place honors, followed among the top four finishers by eighth grader Elaine Zeng of West Lafayette Junior Senior High School, and Kaitlyn Park and Jennifer Hu, both eighth graders at Indianapolis’ Sycamore School. They will now represent Indiana at the national MATHCOUNTS competition May 7-10 in Washington, D.C. 

Other students placing in the top 10 finishers were Allen Qian of Creekside Middle School (Carmel), Aaron Du of West Lafayette, Justin Puno of Sycamore School, Ethan He of Honey Creek Middle School (Terre Haute), Ryan Li of West Lafayette, and Brandon Li of Creekside.   

A new feature of this year’s Indiana competition was the top 25 finishers earned MATHCOUNTS Scholarships from Rose-Hulman. The scholarships provide each student with a $500 discount off the cost of attending up to three of the institute’s summer pre-college programs. Rose-Hulman’s new Rose Power program allows girls after completing the ninth grade to learn valuable experience about tools and machines during a weeklong campus experience. Other programs follow in succeeding years throughout high school.

“We want these students to benefit the full potential of their math problem-solving skills and further encourage their interests in STEM,” said Tom Bear, vice president for enrollment management. He noted that the students can earn between $2,500-$17,500 in college scholarship funds based on their future academic progress toward enrollment to Rose-Hulman through participation in pre-college programs. 

The top 24 finishers competed in a high-pressure, game show-style Countdown Round in front of their peers, teachers, mentors, and parents in Rose-Hulman’s Hatfield Hall Theater. Honey Creek eighth grader Sai Boda won that extra competition, defeating classmate Jeffrey Chen of Honey Creek in the final showdown. Hillary Yang of Carmel’s Clay Middle School placed third while Hu of the Sycamore School was fourth.

Sponsored by the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers, the Indiana MATHCOUNTS competition promotes mathematics development among Indiana youths. ​MATHCOUNTS was developed to improve math literacy in middle schools, and to make parents, educators and the public aware of career opportunities in mathematics.

This year’s state competition was organized by Associate Professor of Mathematics Leanne Holder, PhD, and assisted by math faculty colleagues John Rickert, PhD, grading room coordinator; and John McSweeney, PhD, Countdown Round announcer; along with several faculty contest room supervisors; and student graders.

Hosting MATHCOUNTS’ Wabash Valley and Indiana competitions is one reason the Department of Mathematics received the American Mathematical Society’s 2021 award for an Exemplary Program or Achievement in a Mathematics Department. This honor recognizes a department that “has distinguished itself by undertaking an unusual or particularly effective program of value to the mathematics community, internally or in relation to the rest of society,” according to the AMS award announcement.

22 Indiana MATHCOUNTS Competition

March 12 – Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Top 25 Finishers: 1. Edward Chen, Carmel Middle School; 2. Elaine Zeng, West Lafayette Junior Senior High School; 3. Kaitlyn Park, Sycamore School; 4. Jennifer Hu, Sycamore School; 5. Allen Qian, Creekside Middle School; 6. Aaron Du, West Lafayette Junior Senior High School; 7. Justin Puno, Sycamore School; 8. Ethan He, Honey Creek Middle School; 9. Ryan Li, West Lafayette Junior Senior High School; 10. Brandon Li, Creekside Middle School; 11. Shayen Maun, Sycamore School; 12. Allison Shen, Creekside Middle School; 13. Hillary Yang, Clay Middle School; 14. Sophie Liang, Sycamore School; 15. Andrew Kim, Carmel Middle School; 16. Sai Boda, Honey Creek Middle School; 17. Jeffrey Chen, Honey Creek Middle School; 18. Alexander Gao, Creekside Middle School; 19. Ehan Qazi, West Lafayette Intermediate School; 20. Christopher Park, Saint Patrick School; 21. Erica Zhao, Creekside Middle School; 22. Edward Liu, West Lafayette Junior Senior High School; 23. Ivy Wei, Creekside Middle School; 24. Riti Tandra, Sycamore School; 25. Justin Li, Creekside Middle School.