Preparing students for existing and future STEM career opportunities

Preparing students for existing and future STEM career opportunities

January 16, 2013

Here's a real-world problem with no easy solution: If only 45 percent of U.S. high school grads are ready for college-level math and the 30 fastest-growing occupations in the coming decade require at least some background in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)*--how will all these positions be filled?

Perhaps Moody's Mega Math Challenge participants could help solve this question, as the contest puts high school students to the task of doing just that: solving a real-world issue in just 14 hours using math modeling and analysis. Teams with the best solutions receive scholarship prizes totaling $115,000.

A shining example of a successful STEM program, the M3 Challenge is a completely free contest that presents a genuine and practical issue to thousands of high school juniors and seniors each year. Past challenges have required students to recommend fairer congressional apportionment, determine the financial footprint of using ethanol as an energy source, and rank the best regions for building a national high-speed rail network, among other pertinent issues. The annual competition is funded by The Moody's Foundation and run by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

"Applications of mathematics are exciting. As students become aware of the important role that mathematical modeling plays in understanding and solving real-world problems, many will choose to take more mathematics courses, and some will consider mathematical careers and courses of study," said Leon Seitelman, M3 Challenge consultant.

The M3 Challenge opens students' minds to careers that are in desperate need of new talent: economics, finance, computational science, and engineering, among others. The unique competition helps students see applied mathematics as a powerful problem-solving tool and as a viable and exciting profession, thus helping to "beef up" our country's STEM pipeline.

For those who have not yet registered or who want to register a second team for the M3 Challenge, there is still time. Registration must be completed by each team's teacher-coach at or before 6:00 p.m. EST on Friday, February 22, 2012. Registration is quick and easy and there are no participation fees.

* Statistics pulled from Change the Equation. 

About the Sponsor

The Moody's Foundation is a charitable foundation established by Moody's Corporation. Moody's is committed to supporting education, in particular the study of mathematics, finance and economics. The Foundation also funds specific initiatives in the areas of health and human services, arts and culture, civic and economic development programs. These programs are primarily located in New York City. Grants are also made in San Francisco, California; West Chester, Pennsylvania; and London, England.

Moody's is an essential component of the global capital markets, providing credit ratings, research, tools and analysis that contribute to transparent and integrated financial markets. Moody's Corporation (NYSE: MCO) is the parent company of Moody's Investors Service, which provides credit ratings and research covering debt instruments and securities, and Moody's Analytics, which offers leading-edge software, advisory services and research for credit and economic analysis and financial risk management. The Corporation, which reported revenue of $2.3 billion in 2011, employs approximately 6,000 people worldwide and maintains a presence in 28 countries. Further information is available at

About the Organizer

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an international society of more than 14,000 individual members, including applied and computational mathematicians and computer scientists, as well as other scientists and engineers. Members from more than 100 countries are researchers, educators, students, and practitioners in industry, government, laboratories, and academia. The Society, which also includes nearly 500 academic and corporate institutional members, serves and advances the disciplines of applied mathematics and computational science by publishing a variety of books and prestigious peer-reviewed research journals, by conducting conferences, and by hosting activity groups in various areas of mathematics. SIAM provides many opportunities for students including regional sections and student chapters. Further information is available at

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