Students to Test Skills, Vie for Scholarships in Pro2Serve Math Contest

Hundreds of Tennessee high school students will put their mathematics skills to the test and vie for scholarships during this year’s UT Pro2Serve Math Contest.

Registration opens Tuesday, August 25, for the seventeenth annual contest. The daylong event pits students—public, private, and home-schooled—from across the state in both individual and team competitions.

The contest, to be held Tuesday, October 27, at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park downtown, will award $6,000 annual scholarships to UT to the top ten students in the individual competition. The scholarships are funded by UT and Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. Other prizes also will be given.

The cost is $15 per attendee, including chaperones. Title I schools receive a reduced fee of $10 per person. Students must register through their school or math teacher; no individual registrations will be allowed. Financial aid is available for schools traveling more than fifty miles and bringing at least nine students. Visit the website for financial aid details and registration information. Sponsoring teachers may visit the website or call 865-974-2461 to register their schools. Registration closes Friday, September 25.

“The math contest provides an opportunity for some of Tennessee’s brightest high school students to have fun, compete, and become acquainted with the University of Tennessee,” said Conrad Plaut, head of the Department of Mathematics. “We hope that many of these students will eventually arrive on our campus as incoming freshmen.  Past contest participants have done excellent undergraduate research as UT students and have gone on to top graduate schools in their fields.”

The contest has two parts. The first is the two-stage FERMAT. All participants take a multiple-choice test on algebra and geometry, called the Fundamental Exams of Remarkable Mathematical Ability and Talent (FERMAT I). The top fifty students move on to the next level of testing, called FERMAT II. This test has eight essay questions requiring creative and original thinking. The ten students with the highest scores will each receive an annual $6,000 scholarship for four years of undergraduate study at UT. FERMAT II exams are hand graded by faculty members from UT’s Department of Mathematics.

The second part of the contest is the Math Bowl. A three-member team from each school faces an opposing team in a double-elimination tournament in the style of the old GE College Bowl competitions. Sixty-four teams compete to be the fastest to correctly answer ten math questions.

A full schedule can be found online.

The contest is presented by the mathematics department together with UT alumnus Barry Goss and his company, Pro2Serve Professional Project Services Inc. This is Pro2Serve’s fifteenth year supporting the contest. The company provides technical and engineering services that support the infrastructures of government and private industry and help ensure the nation’s security.

“As a Tennessee-grown business, we think it’s important to develop and retain the intellectual talent of our state,” Goss said. “We want the best and brightest minds in Tennessee high schools to further their education, hopefully at UT, and live and work in Tennessee upon their graduation from college.”

The media sponsor is the Knoxville News Sentinel.



April Conner (865-974-2461,

Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,