March 17, 2008

Lafayette Places in Top Five Percent in National Putnam Math Competition

Team competed against more than 500 colleges and universities

Lafayette’s three-student team finished in the top five percent of schools participating nationally in the 2007-08 William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition.

The College placed 25th out of 516 teams. Harvard University, Princeton University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were this year’s top finishers. This is now the seventh year out of the last eight that a Lafayette team has finished in the top 15 percent, including another top five percent finish in 2002.

The six-hour exam consists of 12 questions, each worth 10 points. The test is extremely challenging with fewer than half the participating students receiving a positive score.

Each school has one “official” team of three students chosen before taking the test. Jinjin Qian ’08 (Shanghai, China), who is pursuing a B.S. mathematics and A.B. with a major in economics and business, led the team with 30 points and ranked 221 out of 3,753 students who took the exam. Jordan Tirrell ’08 (West Grove, Pa.), a mathematics major, scored 22 points and ranked 367th, and Shiliang Cui ’09 (Shanghai, China), who is pursuing a B.S. mathematics and an A.B. with a major in economics and business, scored 12 points and ranked 819th.

Although they were not on the designated team, Peiyuan Mao ’11 (Yangzhou Jiangsu Province, China), a physics major, received 22 points and ranked 367th; Edmund Karasiewicz ’11 (Woodbridge, N.J.), a mathematics major, scored 11 points and rank 971st; and Sebastian Barreto ’10 (Bogota, Colombia), a chemical engineering major, received 10 points and ranked 1180th.

Shelvan Kapita ’10 (Harare, Zimbabwe), Adekemi Egunsola ’09 (Monrovia, Liberia), Brian Lynch ’11 (Lansdale, Pa.), and Katie Sokolowsky ’10 (Downingtown, Pa.), all received two points on the test.

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