The 34th annual Westmont Mathematics Field Day 


Dr. Anna Aboud

34th Annual Mathlete Event

Angela Tran, Staff Writer

On Saturday Feb. 11, over 100 high school students arrived on Westmont’s campus to compete in the 34th annual Westmont Mathematics Field Day.

Participants represented eight local high schools: San Marcos, Dos Pueblos, Santa Barbara, Cate School, Laguna Blanca, Oaks Christian, La Cañada and Providence. Each school brought a 9th/10th grade team and an 11th/12th grade team consisting of four students each. Over the course of the day, the students participated in various contests. For the college bowl style buzzer rounds, participants solved quick-fire questions. 

For the team competition, groups took an hour to collaborate on five challenging math problems. For the Chalk Talk, students gave presentations on various mathematical topics. The evening ended with an awards banquet that featured speaker Erik Lucero, the site lead at Google Quantum AI. His demonstration showed parents and students how someone could integrate math into daily life and make it an occupation.

As assistant professor of mathematics and current chair of the department, Dr. Anna Aboud is the field day’s official coordinator. She has enjoyed bringing it to life over the past three years, gradually taking the baton from event founder Dr. Russell Howell. Her duties in the annual preparation include coordinating with the high school teachers, training Westmont student volunteers, and writing the 150+ math problems used throughout the contests. 

34th Annual Mathlete Event (Dr. Anna Aboud)

Aboud is grateful for all the Westmont student volunteers who helped from the beginning to the end: setting up, running the events in different rooms, grading exams, judging Chalk Talks and more. Michael Lew, a third year physics major, loves seeing the local high schools showcase their talent. “When I co-emceed with Chandler Baker,” he says, “I was astounded by the lightning speed at which the high schoolers solved questions.”

Dr. Aboud’s purpose for the event each year is to foster problem-solving, collaboration and perseverance. She says, “[The important thing is] not just knowing how to do problems quickly, but [also] being able to successfully communicate mathematical topics to others.” In preparing future events, she would like to find a way to encourage more women to participate in the competition.

 For all young people, she hopes that encouraging and inspiring those who are interested in math will propel them into roles that can change the world. “[Many global issues and problems] are going to need strong mathematicians to solve them,” Dr. Aboud says. “So anything that we can do early on at the high school level [to] help them keep along that strong math track is a really worthwhile endeavor.”

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