Math to the rescue

Computer on desk against a blackboard filled with mathematical equations and problemsAs part of the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes’ educational agenda, School of Life Sciences Assistant Research Professor Gwen Iacona and graduate student Olivia Davis developed a mathematical problem on funding for biodiversity conservation as part of the 2020 High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling (HiMCM), sponsored by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAD). “The problem was a big success, and I believe the students appreciated that this was a real and current issue,” celebrated COMAD HiMCM Director Kathleen G. Snook. “We received some interesting and thoughtful papers.” Although participation numbers were lower than in previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 779 teams competed, with up to four students per team, representing 302 schools from 20 different countries/regions. Of all submissions, 278 papers addressed the funding biodiversity conservation problem, of which 18 were considered in the Final Judging and three were rated as Outstanding: (1) The McCallie School, TN, USA; (2) Shanghai Pinghe School, Shanghai, China; and (3) Hwa Chong Institution, Singapore (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Winner). Congratulations to all participants and, in particular, the three winning schools! Access the contest results.