(April 14, 2010)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Students Take Part in Math Contest in Modeling

SHREVEPORT, La. (Centenary News Service) — Six students from Centenary College took time out from their recent Mardi Gras break and put their math skills to work when they competed in the 2010 Mathematical Contest in Modeling February 18—22, a competition that drew more than 2,254 teams from across the globe.

Presented by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications, or COMAP, the students were divided into two teams of three students each, and tackled a specific modeling problem that used mathematical tools to explore real-world problems.

The first team consisted of seniors Nolan Baker and Marco Reyes, and freshman Gerhardt Funk. The team investigated mathematical and computational ways to aid in the investigation of serial criminals. For their solution, the team received a Meritorious Winner distinction, placing them in the top 20 percent of all teams competing.

Math group
(front row, left to right) Nolan Baker, Kathryn Hardey, Marco Antonio Reyes (back row, left to right) Jacob Jennings, Dr. Mark Goadrich, and Robert Poole. Not pictured: Gerhardt Funk.

The second team consisted of sophomores Kathryn Hardey, Robert Poole and Jacob Jennings, who researched the mathematics behind the "sweet" spot in a baseball bat, and were successful in submitting a solution for their problem.

"I'm very proud of the students on both teams and their impressive work," said Dr. Mark Goadrich, Broyles Eminent Scholars Chair of Computational Mathematics and Assistant Professor of Computer Science. "To have one of our teams earn Meritorious is a great accomplishment for them! This is a contest where our students with their liberal-arts background can excel because of the necessary interdisciplinary combination of mathematical and computational skills, technical writing, creativity and teamwork."

This year, 14 countries were represented during the competition, including 1,890 teams from the Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The U.S. fielded 358 teams. During the five-day contest teams of up to three undergraduate or high school students researched, modeled, and submitted a solution to one of two modeling problems.

COMAP, the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications, is an award-winning non-profit organization whose mission is to improve mathematics education for students of all ages. Since 1980, COMAP has worked with teachers, students, and business people to create learning environments where mathematics is used to investigate and model real issues in our world. The Mathematical Contest in Modeling challenges teams of students to clarify, analyze, and propose solutions to open-ended problems. The contest attracts diverse students and faculty advisors from more than 500 institutions around the world.

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and is regularly rated as one of the top colleges in the South. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in the Shreveport and Bossier City communities.