Students Tackle 30th Annual Vivian Kraines Competition

Sixteen Meredith freshmen and sophomores kicked off the spring semester in January with a unique challenge —The Vivian Kraines Mathematics Competition, which has been held annually for 30 consecutive years. The competition is a formidable set of "puzzle" type questions in two parts. Between the halves, students unwind in camaraderie and conversation over a pizza supper before returning to fulfill the challenge. This year student participants had an especially memorable break when Kraines, an emeritus professor of mathematics, stopped in to help celebrate the 30-year milestone.
Kraines, who retired from Meredith in 2003, enjoyed chatting with students as she offered her encouragement. She explained why she decided to start the contest, and why she chose to restrict it to freshmen and sophomores.

The competition was "a way to encourage the top students in beginning Mathematics courses to consider Mathematics as a major,” Kraines said. "I am very pleasantly surprised that it is still going strong."

She explained that the competition’s structure was based on her previous experience with other competitions. "I had some experience with the William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition and for a few years helped make up the NC State Mathematics Competition," said Kraines. "I liked the format of each - the problem solving Putnam and the multiple choice NC State Contest."

Student participants in this year's memorable competition were: Lauren Allen, Madelynn Archer, Laura Barrett, Amanda Beirne, Elisabeth Bjork, Cecelia Blair, Miller Cheatham, Caitlyn Debona, Kathleen Elliott, Fanny Njie, Rodda Ouma, Andrea Pulliam, Mary Rawls, Kelly Smith, Jessica Troetti, and Onisha Walker. Also in the photo are Vivian Kraines and faculty sponsors Assistant Professor of Mathematics Jed Mihalisin and Assistant Professor of Mathematics Mike Johnson.

Prizes for top finishers in the 30th annual Vivian Kraines Mathematics Competition will be announced at the departmental awards ceremony on Celebrating Student Achievement Day, April 14.

Date Submitted: 2011-02-02

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