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USAMO Winners Celebrated in the Nation's Capital

The 12 winners of the U.S.A Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO) were honored Monday evening at the 37th annual USAMO Awards Ceremony and Dinner in Washington, D.C.

MAA President Joe Gallian presided over the awards ceremony at the National Academy of Sciences, where he introduced the students and presented them with their USAMO medals. The winners are:

David Benjamin, Harrison High School, West Lafayette, Ind.

On the way over to the Department of State for the reception and dinner, the students gathered around the Albert Einstein Memorial Statue outside of the National Academy for a short photo session. Photo by Ryan Miller.

Taoran Chen, Bayside High School, Flushing, N.Y.

Paul Christiano, The Harker School, San Jose, Calif.

Samuel Elder, Poudre High School, Fort Collins, Colo.

Shaunak Kishore, Unionville High School, Kennett Square, Pa.

Delong Meng, Baton Rouge Magnet High School, Baton Rouge, La.

Evan O’Dorney, Berkeley Math Circle, Berkeley, Calif.

Qinxuan Pan, Thomas Sprigg Wootton High School, Rockville, Md.

David Rolnick, Home School, Rupert, Vt.

Krishanu Sankar, Horace Mann School, Riverdale, N.Y.

Colin Sandon, Essex High School, Essex Junction, Vt.

Alex Zhai, University Laboratory High School, Urbana, Ill.

Two-time USAMO winner Melanie Matchett Wood delivered the invited address, “The Chemistry of Primes.” Currently a graduate student at Princeton, Wood is the first student to give the invited address at the USAMO awards ceremony. Wood spoke about the privilege of winning the USAMO and encouraged the students to pursue the amazing mathematical opportunities awaiting them.

Moving to the Department of State building for the awards dinner, the students and guests were escorted to the Diplomatic Reception Rooms where they could view famous paintings of American statesmen or marvel at belongings of some renowned historical figures.

Dr. Sharon Hays, from the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, praised the USAMO winners and stressed the importance of mathematics in today’s world.  She concluded by reading a letter from President George W. Bush congratulating the 12 winners.

Awards and scholarships were handed out after dinner. All 12 USAMO winners received a $500 U.S. savings bond for winning the Robert P. Balles U.S.A. Mathematical Olympiad Prize. O’Dorney and Sandon were honored with the Samuel L. Greitzer/Murray S. Klamin Award for Mathematical Excellence for their first place finish. The pair also received $10,000 each in scholarship money from the Akamai Foundation as a result of tying for the highest score on the USAMO.

Colin Sandon and Evan O'Dorney receive their scholarships from the Akamai Foundation for their first place tie on the USAMO (left), and O'Dorney receives his Clay Mathematics Institute Olympiad Scholar Award for the most original solution to a USAMO problem (right). Photos by Ryan Miller.

O’Dorney was also recognized with the Clay Mathematics Institute Olympiad Scholar Award for the most original solution to a USAMO problem.

Pan and Sankar both received Akamai Scholarships in the amount of $7,500 for their tie for second place, and Kishore and Meng each earned $5,000 for their third place finish.

MAA Executive Director Tina Straley capped off the evening by thanking everyone who made the evening possible and wishing the students who will travel to Madrid for the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) the best of luck.

The students taking the IMO team selection test (TST) will take the third and final portion on Friday, June 13, and the six winners will be announced shortly thereafter.—R. Miller

Three of the USAMO winners await the start of the awards ceremony at the National Academy of Sciences (left), and MAA President Joe Gallian greets the crowd before dinner at the U.S. Department of State (right). Photos by Ryan Miller.


News Date: 
Wednesday, June 11, 2008