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Alexandria Students Eligible for $20K Scholarship After Selection as Finalists in International Math Competition

Finals take place in New York City on April 29

Thomas Jefferson High School M3 Challenge Finalists, from the left, Om Gole, Laura Zhang, Rishabh Prabhu, Victoria Zhang (Photo: M3 Challenge)

ALEXANDRIA, VA-Last month, a group of students from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHS) gathered to participate in a woldwide online math competition known as the MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge (M3 Challenge). The team – consisting of Rishabh Chhabra, Om Gole, Rishabh Prabhu, Laura Zhang, and Victoria Zhang – is one of nine finalists in the contest.

In New York City on April 29, those selected as winners by a panel of professional mathematicians will receive a share of $100,000 in scholarships. The champion receives $20,000.

At its start, the M3 Challenge drew roughly 3,000 students from schools throughout the US and UK.

Relying on mathematical modeling, the students were instructed to devise solutions for various real world issues.

According to a press release, they were asked the following questions: “How do we solve the intertwined crises of homelessness and a shortage of affordable housing, especially given that they are often exacerbated by unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters, humanitarian crises, and economic downturns? Can we predict long-term changes in the housing supply and unhoused population? If so, how can we use this information to devise real, long-term solutions for homelessness?”

Judges received 643 submissions in the form of research papers, which presented recommendations. Forty-five percent of these submissions included “technical computing to support and enhance [the students’] solutions,” the release reads.

The TJHS coach, Sewong Yang, a math teacher, shared, ” the “M3 Challenge has really pushed our team to dive deeper into math and has inspired a couple of our team members to pursue careers related to mathematical modeling.”

 “Through preparing for and participating in this competition, I have realized that mathematical modeling is my passion. I realized that I not only enjoy mathematical modeling, but I have also gained confidence in myself to excel in this field,”  Prabhu said. “My experiences with M3 Challenge have shaped my career aspirations and inspired me to pursue a career in quantitative finance, where I’ll continue to leverage the power and beauty of mathematics and computer science.”

The M3 Challenge is a program of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, headquartered in Philadelphia. It is sponsored by MathWorks, and began in 2005.

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Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He also studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting and holds a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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