Durham Tech takes top spot in state math competition

L to R: Emma Borynski, Chris Mansfield, Jessica He, Gergana Petrova, Sophie Liu, Benjamin Dod, Sebastian Fowler, Julian Clark, Jacob Miller, Marcus Schoenherr, Margaret Memory, Tirzah Lloyd, Dan Koris

The Durham Technical Community College Math Team placed first overall in the eighth annual North Carolina Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges’ Math Competition on November 18 at Forsyth Tech Community College in Winston-Salem.

The competition consisted of two parts: a morning calculus exam and an afternoon team competition. The morning exam contained 40 multiple-choice questions. Students had 90 minutes to complete it and calculators were not allowed.

“Success in the competition also offers a measure of prestige for Durham Tech,” said Chris Mansfield, Director of the Associate in Engineering Program and faculty sponsor of the team. “Most importantly, it creates camaraderie among students and allows them to hone their problem solving skills in a collaborative environment.”

In the individual competition, Durham Tech students swept the top of the competition, finishing first, second, third, fourth, and fifth places, out of 111 students. In order, the students were Jessica He, Jacob Miller, Tirzah Lloyd, Sophie Liu, and Julian Clark.

“Succeeding in this competition and even being picked for the team is a great confidence builder for students,” Mansfield said. “They see that they are on a par with the best math students from schools all over North Carolina and the Southeastern U.S.”

The afternoon team competition contained pre-calculus questions and only scientific calculators were allowed. Durham Tech teams finished 1st and 2nd in the team competition, which featured 31 teams from 14 schools.

“Throughout the math curriculum at Durham Tech, students are taught not merely how to solve specific types of problems, but are given opportunities and coaching on how to approach math problems they have not seen before,” Mansfield said. “The building of these skills is a long-term process that is acquired through practice in multiple courses, and this competition is a chance for students to apply what they’ve learned.”

In addition to Mansfield, students were accompanied by faculty sponsors, Emma Borynski and Margaret Memory. Durham Tech has participated in the Math Competition since its inception in 2010.

NCMATYC, founded in 1988, is an organization of mathematics instructors from across North Carolina that work together to establish and maintain communication among teachers of mathematics at two-year colleges.