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04/16/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/16/2019 12:15

Carderock Math Contest: 10 Years of Growing a STEM Workforce

WEST BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- The Carderock Math Contest celebrated its 10th anniversary this year on April 12 at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division in West Bethesda, Maryland. Over 200 students from across 25 schools in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia came to compete for the trophy.

The contest, part of Carderock's science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) student outreach efforts, gave students an opportunity to showcase their talent for math in a series of individual and team competition in MATHCOUNTS-style tests. It began with the sprint and target rounds, sets of math problems each student answered alone, then a team round.

This year's keynote speaker was 2017 Miss USA and Miss DC Kára McCullough, a scientist at the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the founder of the Science Exploration for Kids (SE4K). SE4K is an organization dedicated to promoting science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematic enrichment for students. The organization creates 'fun-with-purpose' activities for every grade level through after-school programs, travel workshops and career readiness assessments.

McCullough said she became interested in math and science at young age because it seemed to involve everything around her. Her mother encouraged her to pursue that interest and ultimately, she earned a degree in chemistry from South Carolina State University. She became a nuclear scientist at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in downtown Washington, D.C., before winning the Miss USA 2017 title. When she spoke to these students, she emphasized the phrase, 'Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence,' and to have the courage to encourage other people.

The event also included various facility tours throughout the Warfare Center for students to gain a better understanding of what the engineers and scientists at Carderock do every day. Commanding Officer Capt. Mark Vandroff spoke to students about math in the real world of engineering and science.

Carderock scientists and engineers helped proctor and score the tests, lead tours and spoke with the students about their careers. From there, volunteers took the students on tours of Carderock' s facilities, with the Manufacturing, Knowledge and Education (MAKE) Lab, the David Taylor Model Basin and the Subsonic Wind Tunnel as highlights.

The top scorers from the morning competitions moved on to the main event, the countdown round, answering advanced math questions for speed in a bracket-style tournament until there were only four students competing for the top three prizes. The first-place winner was Samuel Wang from the BASIS Independent McLean private school in McLean, Virginia.

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