Students Ahead of the Curve in Regional Mathematics Competition

Tung Nguyen
Tung Nguyen, Class of 2015
Anh Dao
Anh Dao, Class of 2015
Duc Nguyen
Duc Nguyen, Class of 2017

Jan. 15, 2014           

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— A team of three Illinois Wesleyan students—Tung Nguyen ’15, Anh Dao ’15, Duc Nguyen ’17— placed first out of 60 teams in the 19th Annual Michigan Autumn Take Home (MATH) Challenge. The team-oriented, regional competition took place on Saturday, November 2, with winners being announced in late December.

The three-hour test was comprised of 10 questions covering a variety of topics and concepts found in undergraduate mathematics curriculum. IWU’s team, which was coached by Theodore Rice, visiting professor of mathematics, and Andrew Shallue, assistant professor of mathematics, earned a score of 80 out of a possible 100.

“What impresses me most is that the team got full credit on all questions for which they submitted an answer,” said Shallue. “That shows an excellent awareness of how to write a solid mathematical argument.”

IWU was followed by two teams from Taylor University, with scores of 78 and 76. Teams from Connecticut College, Kalamazoo College and Calvin College rounded out the top five.

“As someone who enjoyed mathematics contests as a student, I enjoyed mentoring these students a great deal,” said Rice. “I am proud of their accomplishment and I hope they defend their first place finish next year.”

Professors Mark Bollman, then of Olivet College in Michigan, and Timothy Sipka of Alma College in Michigan first organized the MATH Challenge in the spring of 1994. The first challenge, which consisted of 22 teams from eight schools, was held in November of 1994. The test has been held annually ever since.

For additional information, contact Sherry Wallace, director for news and media relations, at (309) 556-3792.

Contact: Tia Patsavas ’16 (309) 556-3181,