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2023-24 UNM-PNM Statewide High School Mathematics Contest

On Saturday April 27, 2024 an awards banquet celebrated the winners of the 2023-2024 UNM-PNM Statewide High School Mathematics Contest <> . The winners, their families, and teachers gathered for the celebration in Ballroom C of the Student Union Building. Professor Monika Nitsche, Chair of UNM's Mathematics & Statistics Department, and PNM representatives gave congratulatory remarks. After the dinner, awards were handed out by the contest co-directors, Professor James Degnan and Associate Professor Stephen Lau.  Teachers, family members, or friends offered laudatory words about each student. Each of these high-achieving students has a promising future ahead! Congratulations to all!

The goal of the contest is to promote mathematics education in New Mexico by rewarding students, teachers, and their schools for mathematical excellence. Before the pandemic, between 700 to 1200 New Mexico students benefited from this program annually. The numbers have since dropped but are now recovering, and this year nearly 400 New Mexico students from over 20 schools (including home and online schools) in grades 5 through 12 participated. Awards were given in each grade for a total of 35 students, along with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd overall contest winners. This year 17 winners by school were also recognized. For a second year Campersand <> offered 7 full scholarships to their summer math camp to be held at UNM in June 2024.  Campersand representative Anita Chou presented the awards to the top students in grades 5 through 10.

There are monetary awards and also books for the winners. The books awarded this year were recently published by L.-S. Hahn, a retired Professor from our department who was in charge of the Math Contest for many years (1975-1999). We honor Dr. Hahn's legacy!

The contest has two examination rounds, each testing mathematical potential and ingenuity in addition to formal knowledge. Round I was administered online in November. The top finalists (121 students) from Round I were invited to the UNM Campus in early February to compete in Round II, administered as an in-person written exam, although due to bad weather some participation was shifted online at the last minute. By tradition, prior to the Round II examination, a prominent mathematician or statistician gives a presentation available to all. This year, Stefan Steinerberger of the University of Washington gave a fantastic public lecture on "Simple Things That We Don't Know".

The New Mexico Mathematics Contest was born in 1966, the year before the first Super Bowl! It has gone through three name changes during the course of its history and is currently known as the UNM-PNM Statewide High School Mathematics Contest. In partnership with the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, PNM has provided yearly support for the contest since 1997.