Crack-a-Math Bowl


Crack-a-Math Bowl

            The 99th Annual Meeting of the Texas Section of the Mathematics Association of America (MAA) was hosted by Tarleton State University from March 28th to 30th. McMurry University’s Math Club was honored to attend the conference, and they came back successfully– second place out of twenty universities in the Mathematics Bowl Competition.

The annual MAA Texas meeting gathers universities all over the state for a three-day long conference. The schedule included: Calculus/Math Bowl Competition, undergraduate students’ research talks, and speeches of keynote speakers who are outstanding mathematicians. To be the winners in the Math Bowl, each team of students have to solve math problems fast and correctly. The testing problems included Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Math History, amongst other subjects within the mathematical field. 

McMurry University’s Math department maintains a good relationship with MAA Texas Section, and its goal is to bring students closer to professional students and instructors all over Texas, proficient in mathematics.  

Ms. Cristina Roxana Dita, who has taught math at McMurry since 2011, said: “While at McMurry, I have taken students to the MAA Texas conference three times. Grateful for the financial help from our university and SMAB members, we are able to continuously take students to this valuable experience and compete state-wide with other schools.” As a faculty member, Ms. Dita firmly believes she has learned from this experience as well. “I am glad I get the opportunities to meet with colleagues from other universities, support my students in the competition, and to hear interesting talks that involve mathematics.” Ms. Dita is also happy to be a bridge between our undergraduate students and possible graduate school opportunities. “If there are chances in the conference, I usually try to introduce our students to other graduate faculty. I believe these connections can help our students learn more about graduate opportunities in mathematics.”

Compared with other big universities, McMurry does not offer special classes for students to study math history, or to learn and practice how to compete in a Math Bowl. But, this success is tightly related to the high quality of math classes McMurry offers, individual students’ efforts, and the encouragement and support from our lovely, dedicated faculty. 

 “I wanted to go to this conference because I think the experience would help me to find ideas for my senior honors thesis. Winning the Math Bowl competition was not planned,” commented Lydia Clarke, a junior majoring in math and computer science. As a female who majors in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), Clarke personally experienced some gender judgements from some males. “Women also can do well within the STEM field. We can even do better,” said Clarke. Clarke worked hard in her classes and always reached out for chances to achieve more than just classroom success. “We had a really good cooperation in our math bowl team. The three of us had good communication during the competition, which propelled our success to second place,” concluded Clarke.

A small Math Bowl team with a small group of dedicated female math aficionados was the key to success at the 99th MAA Texas meeting. This is also the first time McMurry University placed top three in a Math Bowl Competition, which also brings big encouragements back to our campus. War Hawks, we got this!    

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