A Randolph student ranked first in Virginia and 12th in the nation in a recent Virginia Tech Regional Mathematics Contest (VTRMC). Anh Vo ’18 was one of 674 students competing.
VTRMC, which began in 1979, is the second-largest undergraduate mathematics competition in the United States. Top institutions such as Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Williams College, Duke, UVA, and Washington & Lee regularly participate. Randolph was one of just two liberal arts colleges to have a student ranked in the top 25 nationally.
“During the competition, I had quite an experience to explore myself and my math skills,” Vo said. “To be the first place rank in Virginia means a lot to me—a third-year international student who has had a big interest in math since high school. It is a remarkable achievement I earned this year.”
For the competition, contestants at each participating institution take a 2.5-hour exam on their own campus under the supervision of a faculty member. Mathematics professor Marc Ordower supervised the event at Randolph, which included 12 Randolph students and three high school students. Since 2012, Ordower has also offered a Problem-Solving Seminar to train students for the VTRMC.
“I’m proud of every student who took part in the Virginia Tech competition, and Anh’s performance was amazing,” Ordower said. “It’s very rare for a school our size to have the kind of mathematical problem solving training program that we have here. The combination of our small size and first-rate Problem Solving Seminar allows us to nurture potential on an individual basis and push students who want to be pushed. While we’ve had a great deal of success over the past few years, the current group of seminar students is unusually talented. I can’t wait to see what each of them will do.”
The 2016 VTRMC is the latest in a series of strong performances in mathematics competitions by Randolph students. In 2015, Vo ranked second in Virginia in the VTRMC, and in 2014 Hart Gillespie ’15 scored in the top 9 percent nationally.
On December 3, Randolph will participate in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition, a prestigious and difficult national contest of mathematical skills and creative reasoning. The College has enjoyed success in this contest as well, ranking 106th out of 557 participating institutions in 2013. Also in the 2013 competition, Nam Hoang ’15 earned special distinction for finishing 266th out of more than 4,000 contestants.