Nashville Students Benefit from Math Contest

NASHVILLE — University of Tennessee scholarships and internships at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex are not the only benefits of participating in the UT Pro2Serve Math Contest, local educators said Thursday.

The contest, set for Oct. 30 at UT’s Knoxville campus, awards full four-year, in-state tuition scholarships to UT to the top 10 winners.

UT-Battelle, which operates ORNL, and BWXT Y-12, operator of the Department of Energy-s Y-12 National Security complex, each will award internships to two top contest winners.

Jennifer Rheinecker, who chairs the math department at Antioch High School, said even students who do not win scholarships benefit from the competition.

“Students get the opportunity to work with others who are functioning at a high level of mathematics and to interact with excellent students at other schools,” Rheinecker said. “They really get excited about seeing other students who are excited about upper level mathematics like they are.

“I only have 20 students in my advanced level calculus class out of 2,500 students at our school, so it gives them a chance to interact with other students who do well.

Last year, 751 students from 72 Tennessee high schools competed in the math contest.

Rheinecker said 16 students from her calculus and trigonometry classes are competing this year. Their participation would not be possible without support from UT and Pro2Serve to help pay lodging, travel, bus costs, and teachers for teams who travel more than 100 miles.

“We could not do this without the support of UT and Pro2Serve,” Rheinecker said. “There is no way we can travel from this far away and pay for all the hotel rooms and expenses. The support of UT and Pro2Serve helps us subsidize some of those costs so the school or the student does not have to pay the entire amount.”

Pro2Serve, founded in 1996 and headquartered in Oak Ridge, Tenn., is a provider of critical technical and engineering services supporting the infrastructures of government and private industry to help ensure U.S. security. The company recently ranked as the nation-s 19th fastest growing, privately held defense company in Inc. magazine.

In the contest, now in its fifth year, students take a test to challenge their Algebra I Algebra II and Geometry skills. The top 50 scorers then take a second essay-type exam, and scholarships are awarded to its top 10 scorers.

The contest also features a Math Bowl team competition, similar to the old College Bowl.

“The Math Department is proud to offer a fair and competitive contest,” Michael Gilbert, a UT math lecturer and this year’s contest coordinator, said. “At the end of the day, ten students will have their education expenses met by this generous offer from UT.

“We also appreciate the extra effort by Pro2Serve to expand the competition to include more high school students from all regions of Tennessee and their effort to enhance the educational experience of contest winners who come to UT with potential internships.

“I hope that all students, faculty and parents who participate will have a great day. I’m sure that some pleasant surprises are in store for them.”

Early registration continues through Oct. 10 and costs $10 per person. Late registration is Oct. 11-24 and is $12 per person. More information and registration information can be found at