Posted by Steve Lettau on May 04, 2022

By Conley Publishing Group

MEQUON — They are National Merit Scholarship finalists and were already one of the top competitive math teams in the country last week, when four Homestead High School students recently took the top spot in a prestigious international math competition. Adam Garsha, Jacob Schmidman, Eric Wan and Ethan Wang were among nearly 2,700 students working in 612 teams, who participated in this year’s MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge (M3 Challenge), a prestigious competition that demonstrates the importance of math in everyday life.

The team of four 11th- and 12th-graders took home the top prize of $20,000 in college scholarships, out of the total $100,000-plus being awarded, after being chosen as winners during the final event in New York City April 25.

Thousands of high school juniors and seniors across the U.S. and six students from the U.K. vied for distinction in this year’s MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge. The competition was judged by an international panel of Ph.D.-level mathematicians.

The 2022 M3 Challenge saw students spend 14 consecutive hours in late February using mathematical modeling to solve a real-world problem by collecting data and creating models, developing insight on the problem and submitting their solutions online.

This year’s competition asked students to use math modeling to predict the future of remote work, analyzing the percent of jobs that are remote-ready and whether workers in those jobs will be willing or able to work remotely, then determining the percentage of workers who will go remote in a given city or metro area.

“Some highly recognized STEM high schools are among the participating schools (in this competition),” said parent coach Weizhong Wang, who led the team. “(The Homestead team) worked very hard to prepare for the competition and performed well in the final event presentation. Homestead High School and MTSD prepared our students well.”

Schmidman said the M3 Challenge has been an incredible experience.

“And winning is just an indescribable feeling,” he said. “What made our paper really great was that we focused much less on the mathematics, and more on making our answer wellrounded and robust, considering a multitude of factors.”

The M3 Challenge is a program of Philadelphia-based Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics and sponsored by MathWorks, the leading developer of mathematical computing software for engineers and scientists. M3 Challenge is designed to spotlight the relevancy and power of mathematics in solving real-world issues, as well as motivate students to consider further education and careers in applied mathematics, computational and data sciences and technical computing.

“What sets M3 Challenge apart from other math competitions is that it uniquely requires students to use math modeling as a process to represent, analyze, make predictions and provide insight into current phenomena,” said Michelle Montgomery, M3 Challenge program director at SIAM. “We pose big problems about real issues that many students may not know much about. They need to research, quantify the parameters, organize data and use skills they’ve learned in math class but may have never related to something real.”