“Track Geniuses” win 3rd annual URI Calc Bowl

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KINGSTON, R.I. – April 15, 2009 – Five University of Rhode Island students are sitting on top of the calculus world. Team “Track Genius,” consisting of students Michael Pezzulo, Kevin Healey, Joe Ferro, Shunzaburo Kida, and Daniel Shears, were the winners of URI’s third annual Calc Bowl.

URI calculus students as well as math scholars from local high schools participated in URI’s 3rd annual Calc Bowl this month. With a format similar to a game show, participants respond to multiple-choice pre-calculus and calculus questions.

Jim Baglama, a URI associate math professor, said that college students have no advantage over high school students in such a competition. “The mathematical ability between the high school students in an advance calculus class and freshmen in a college calculus course are similar. Just because a college student, for example, may see more topics in calculus and possibly in more depth, does not mean they will be better prepared to quickly answer typical calculus problems in the Calc-Bowl.”

Thirteen teams consisting of 61 students participated in this year’s event. Nine teams were from URI, two teams from North Kingstown High School, and 2 teams from the Prout School in Wakefield. Team “Velocity Raptors,” composed of students Ross McAndrew, Stephanie Hudon, and Brittany Dunn from the Prout School, finished in second place. “Team “Enginerds,” consisting of URI students Andrea Ferguson, Beatrice Pratt, Keith Hebert, Sarah Loehr, and Sam Carreiro, finished third.

Winifred Brownell, dean of URI’s College of Arts and Sciences, was thrilled by the event’s success. “I was delighted to see so many talented students enthusiastically engaging in a calculus competition and I appreciate the leadership efforts of our faculty in mathematics to organize this annual event.”

The competition consists of two preliminary rounds with the top three teams from each round moving on to the final round. Six teams compete in the finals. The top three teams become the winners.

More than $800 in prizes was given to the winners. URI mathematics professors Lubos Thoma, and Li Wu, and Baglama organize Calc Bowl. It is sponsored and coordinated by the URI Math Department, with assistance from the URI Foundation, URI Pi Mu Epsilon and Wiley, a publishing company. Belmont Fruit Market donated refreshments.