Twelve outstanding high school students are winners of the prestigious 2007 USA Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO). They are the best of the more than 225,000 students who took part in a series of contests put together by the MAA's American Mathematics Competitions program, which culminated with the challenging USAMO exam.
Last evening, these students took part in a gala awards ceremony and dinner at the U.S. Department of State.
MAA President Dr. Joseph A. Gallian presided and began the evening with congratulatory remarks to the twelve winners. He also thanked the USAMO subcommittee for its hard work in grading the qualifying tests.
Standing, from left to right: Joseph A. Gallian, Eric Larson, Krishanu Sankar, Sergei Bernstein, Adam Hesterberg, Delong Meng, Jacob Steinhardt, Sherry Gong. Kneeling: Tedrick Leung, Alex Zhai, Arnav Tripathy, Brian Lawrence, Haitao Mao.
Steven Dunbar, Director of the American Mathematics Competitions, then called the students to the stage to receive their medals.
Sergei Bernstein is a 10th grader at Belmont High School in Belmont, Mass. Sergei plans to pursue math in college and is a terrific piano and saxophone player. In his spare time, he loves to play ultimate Frisbee.
Sherry Gong is a 12th grader at the Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H. Sherry tied for second in this year's competition and won a $15,000 scholarship from the Akamai Foundation. Sherry has been a member of two previous International Mathematics Olympiad teams, gaining a silver medal in 2005 for the U.S. team and in 2004 for the Puerto Rican team. She plans to attend Harvard in the fall.
Adam Hesterberg is a 12th grader at Garfield High School in Seattle, Wash. Adam was the 2003 MATHCOUNTS national champion and a National Merit Scholar. He speaks both Latin and ancient Greek, and he plans to attend Princeton in the fall.
Eric Larson is a 10th grader at South Eugene High School in Eugene, Ore. Eric loves to listen to music in his spare time and is a particularly big fan of Johann Sebastian Bach. He has not decided what college to attend after high school, but said that "MIT sounds good."
Brian Lawrence, a 12th grader at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md., is attempting to make the International Mathematical Olympiad team for the third time. He received the top score on this year's USAMO exam and received a $20,000 scholarship from the Akamai Foundation. He earned a gold medal for an individual perfect score at the IMO in 2005. Brian was a finalist in this year's Intel Science Talent Search and is lead cellist in the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra. He will attend the California Institute of Technology in the fall.
Tedrick Leung is a 12th grader at North Hollywood High School in North Hollywood, Calif. This is Tedrick's third straight appearance in the top twelve of the USAMO. He has previously received honorable mention at the Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad and enjoys chess, bridge, and sudoku in his spare time. He will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall.
Haitao Mao is an 11th grader at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va. Haitao finished in the top ten individually at the Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament this year and also won the overall individual award at the Duke Math Meet last November. In his free time, Haitao loves computer games and playing basketball.
Delong Meng is a 10th grader at Baton Rouge Magnet High School in Baton Rouge, La. Delong finished first at the LSU Mathematics Contest earlier this year and after high school would like to attend Harvard, Princeton, or MIT. In his spare time he likes to play basketball.
Krishanu Sankar is an 11th grader at Horace Mann School in Riverdale, N.Y. Krishanu was a top five finisher at the Mandelbrot Competition earlier this year and is a first timer in the USAMO top twelve. In his spare time, Krishanu loves to play the violin, do karate, and run track.
Jacob Steinhardt is an 11th grader at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va. Jacob is a leader on his school's Math Team, which just finished third at the Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament in February, a competition in which Jacob won first place in combinatorics. He is an avid chess player and also loves to play soccer. He plans to attend either Princeton or MIT after high school.
Arnav Tripathy is a 12th grader at East Chapel Hill High School in Chapel Hill, N.C. Arnav received a gold medal at the International Mathematics Olympiad last year and also finished first at the Duke Math Meet. He is an accomplished pianist and will be attending Harvard in the fall.
Alex Zhai is an 11th grader at the University Laboratory High School, Urbana, Ill. Alex tied for the second highest score with Sherry Gong and will also receive a $15,000 scholarship from the Akamai Foundation. He was a 2006 International Mathematics Olympiad silver medalist and received a gold medal on the 2006 National Latin Exam. In his free time, Alex enjoys soccer and chess.
Andrew Geng, a 12th grader at Westford Academy in Westford, Mass., is this year's recipient of the Clay Olympiad Scholar Award, which is given to the individual that presented the "most creative" solution to an Olympiad problem. His prize consists of a plaque and a cash award. His school also receives a cash award.
On May 22-23, the twelve USAMO winners will take the rigorous team selection test to try to qualify for the U.S. team, which will compete in the International Mathematical Olympiad to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 19-30. That team will consist of the six students with the highest combined scores.
"I view the AMC competition, the summer training program, and the IMO team as one of the jewels in the MAA crown," Dr. Gallian said. "Many students who excelled in the 2007 USAMO will be our leading mathematicians in 20 years, and many of those who excelled will be leaders in business in 20 years."
After the medals were handed out, filmmaker George Csicsery gave the USAMO invited address, showing parts of his documentary Hard Problems. The film, still a work in progress, follows the 2006 U.S. IMO team as they competed in Slovenia last summer. Csicsery was the first non-mathematician to give the invited address in the history of the USAMO awards ceremony.—R. Miller