Wanted: Title Sponsor for Nation’s Most Prestigious National High School Math Modeling Competition

Wanted: Title Sponsor for Nation’s Most Prestigious National High School Math Modeling Competition

Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics launches campaign to fill immediate need for named sponsor of Math Modeling Challenge

July 17, 2017

Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) is seeking an exceptional partner, eager to contribute to the winning formula of the nation’s most prestigious national math modeling competition for high school juniors and seniors to ensure its continued and future success.

Math Modeling Challenge Quick Facts

The only math competition of its kind, the Math Modeling Challenge needs a new title sponsor. The Moody’s Foundation has announced that it has ended its 12-year sponsorship of the competition, previously known as the Moody’s Mega Math Challenge.

Since its inception in 2005, the Moody’s Mega Math Challenge has drawn the participation of more than 37,000 students, 4,000 high schools, 5,000 teachers and 400 Ph.D.-level judges, and has awarded more than $1.2 million in scholarships.

According to a survey of 2017 Math Modeling Challenge participants, 49 percent of respondents found math to be more relevant to real-world problems as a result of participating in the Challenge. While 54 percent of respondents already planned to pursue a major in math or math-oriented field, more than 24 percent said the competition influenced them to pursue a math major. Ninety-two percent of respondents said that the study of math modeling or applied math should be included in K-12 curricula.

“SIAM is excited and energized by the prospect of welcoming a new named sponsor and has initiated a competitive process to identify a partner with whom we will transition the Challenge for the future,” said Michelle Montgomery, Challenge Project Director at SIAM. SIAM will manage the search, beginning with a request for proposals, to be submitted by September 6, 2017, which has been made available today at https://m3challenge.siam.org/sponsorwanted. Potential sponsors should visit the site to learn more, and let SIAM know of their interest. The new sponsor is being asked to commit at least $1.2 million annually for a minimum initial sponsorship term of three years, she said.

The Challenge is strategically aligned with tech and computationally-based organizations, and those with an investment in STEM-related topics and technologies, Montgomery explained. “The Challenge sponsor can expect the competition to enhance its visibility among key communities as an organization that cares about motivating young people to study and ultimately work in STEM careers that will have a positive and meaningful impact on our world,” she said.

“The sponsor can also look forward to programs and strategies to increase its own access to top talent, and enhance employee engagement,” Montgomery added, explaining that the Challenge has seen hundreds of students annually distinguished with prizes for outstanding work after being rigorously vetted by professional computational scientists and have subsequently been invited to apply for internships and jobs at the sponsor organization. “With more than 618 million national media impressions last year, 246 pieces of media coverage, plus a strong social presence, the new sponsor will also be recognized for its outstanding corporate citizenship.”

Focused on educating American youth on the importance of math in everyday life, the Math Modeling Challenge motivates and encourages high school students to study and pursue careers in applied math and computational sciences. Providing a unique and valuable 14-hour experience over one weekend in spring, students work in small teams and use what they have learned in the classroom to solve real-world issues. They are challenged to apply their skills and creative thinking to answer broad, open-ended questions using math modeling strategies. This all takes place online and under strict time constraints akin to those found in business, industry or government settings.

Over the past 12 years, modeling problems have included predicting rates of climate change, identifying the efficacy of biofuels and the effects of their use on world hunger, proposing the best U.S. regions for high speed rail construction, and ensuring that the national social security system remains solvent, among other complex problems. The Challenge most recently partnered with the US National Parks Foundation on the 2017 Challenge problem, and looks forward to working with its next sponsor “to identify other partners with interesting, big, messy problems for high school students to sink their teeth into,” Montgomery said. 

The Challenge currently registers about 1,500 teams per year comprised of more than 6,000 high school juniors and seniors, from which 90 teams are distinguished with monetary prizes. Six of those teams are brought together for a live final event that features team presentations, a reception and an awards ceremony, among other events and activities.

“The Moody’s Foundation is very proud of the impact the program has had on thousands of high school students over the last 12 years, and we wish SIAM continued success in its educational mission,” said Arlene Isaacs-Lowe, President of The Moody’s Foundation.

The new sponsor will assume title sponsorship starting in October 2017.                                               


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