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Pingry Advances to Finals of Prestigious International Math Competition
Greg Waxberg

Pingry’s Upper School Math Team was one of only six finalist teams out of 655 in the world, or the top one percent, invited to the finals of the MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge (M3 Challenge) in New York City in late April.

In this international online math competition, students were given a real-world problem to solve and were given only 14 hours to research the problem, create mathematical models that fit the data, draw conclusions from their results, and write a final paper that summarized their work. 

Pingry’s submission was selected as one of the best solutions to the double crises of affordable housing and homelessness. The students—Elbert Ho ’25, Laura Liu ’24, Annabelle Shilling ’24, Evan Xie ’24, and Alan Zhong ’24—presented their findings to a panel of professional mathematicians, and they were awarded $5,000 out of the $100,000 in scholarships.

Upper School Math Teacher Brad Poprik, who coaches Pingry’s team, explained that “as a teacher who spent time working in finance before entering education, I am thoroughly impressed with how much the task mirrors the types of work the students will be doing in their future. While they may not be urban housing directors in the future, the skills they have developed as part of their preparation and work on this challenge will be essential in whatever career paths they choose.”

Now in its 19th year, M3 Challenge is a program of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics and is sponsored by software company MathWorks. It spotlights applied mathematics as a powerful problem-solving tool and motivates students to consider further education and careers in applied math, computational and data sciences, and technical computing.

Pictured: Elbert Ho ’25, Annabelle Shilling ’24, Laura Liu ’24, Alan Zhong ’24, and Evan Xie ’24

Contact: Greg Waxberg ’96, Communications Writer, Editor of The Pingry Review