Following the first round of the American Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges annual math competition, the CSM Math League ranked first for the state of Maryland, second for the Mid-Atlantic and 21st out of the 181 nationally participating community colleges. From left are CSM Math League members, Stephani Roark, Paul Wagner, Solomon Abiola, Tim Ancarrow and Tyler Myerberg.
LA PLATA, Md. - Twenty questions times two equals 40 answers that will require critical thinking skills and a fast pencil. Just 40 questions and any student at the College of Southern Maryland can compete against other mathletes from two-year colleges in a competition of numbers, equations and solutions where one plus one always equals two.
As part of a national competition held by the American Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges, 70 students from CSM put pencils to paper to compete against students from community colleges across the nation and to win one of five slots on the CSM Math League.
According to professor and CSM Math League advisor Sue Strickland, "The competition consists of two 20-question exams (one administered in the fall and one in the spring semester) which challenge the participants to solve problems using their critical-thinking skills. The top five individual scores are combined and the total is submitted as a team score. Results are compiled at both a regional and a national level."
In the first round of competition this year, the CSM Math League placed first in the state of Maryland and second in the highly competitive Mid-Atlantic region which is made up of 15 participating colleges in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia. Nationally, the CSM Math League ranked 21st out of 181 participating schools with CSM student Tyler Myerberg ranking first for individual scorers in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
"I was surprised to find out I had the highest score," said Myerberg, who is dually enrolled at CSM and Leonardtown High School and is the president of his high school's chapter of the National Honor Society. "I've always done well in math but I think it helped that I wasn't stressed about taking the test. When you are relaxed, you tend to do better," Myerberg said with a smile. Myerberg, who supplements his classes at Leonardtown High School with English and math courses at CSM, has already been accepted into the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His decision to go into business was, "an epiphany
I always thought I would end up in science but I felt limited by the number of jobs I could apply it to whereas a business degree can be applied to so many different careers."
Myerberg encourages other students to pursue the CSM Math League. "You don't know how well you can do until you give it a shot. I used to dread word problems but now that I have more experience with them I can look past the words and almost see the numbers laying themselves out into equations."
"Calculus is my favorite form of math," said fellow CSM Math League team member Stephani Roark, as she describes how she got involved in the Math League. "I think I like calculus because you get to make sense out of a seemingly unsolvable problem." Roark, who participated in a math team as part of the Mathcounts program at Margaret Brent Middle School, had the sixth highest individual score for the Mid-Atlantic region. Her teammate, Solomon Abiola, ranked fourteenth giving the CSM Math League three of the top twenty Mid-Atlantic region individual scorers.
Roark, who says she reads textbooks for fun, is working on her third semester at CSM where she is majoring in math. "My end goal is to get my high school teaching certification and fulfill my dream of being a high school math instructor," said Roark.
According to Strickland, participation in the Math Team has doubled since 2003 but it is the growth of the students' abilities that excites her the most. "It is wonderful to see these students grow within the program. I hope that the students' peers and community are as proud of them as we are. Our goal for the upcoming year is to recruit even more students and to continue to move up in both the national and regional rankings," said Strickland.