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Junior Christina Chen travels to China for math competition

by Ned Martenis
For many students, math can be a challenge or just another boring, unexciting subject. But for junior Christina Chen, that challenge is something to be excited about.

At the China Girls Mathematical Olympiad, an annual competition held this past summer from July 28 through August 3 in Shenzhen, China, Chen received a bronze medal.

Each of the eight American participants received a medal, with two receiving gold, one receiving silver and five receiving bronze.

The Olympiad has been around since 2002, with American teams participating since 2007. This year, the competition included 200 girls from around the globe.

This competition, however, was the end of a long series of qualifying exams.  To qualify, Chen said, one had to achieve a qualifying score in each of three preceding rounds of testing.

Once she qualified, Chen, along with the rest of her team spent most of the month of June training at the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program, a preparatory camp organized by the Mathematical Association of America.  Then, they traveled to China.

Chen, a lifelong math fan, said “it was so great to meet all these girls from the U.S., China and Europe.  I liked just chatting and sharing in the atmosphere of solving and enjoying math the best.”

She said she has always knew she liked math.  “In comparison to the other subjects, math seems more well-defined, more precise than other areas.  It sort of generates a sense of security because it’s very definite in what’s right and what’s wrong,” she said.

However, Chen said that “math is just for fun,” and that she doesn’t even know if she will continue with math after high school.

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