Florida Polytechnic University celebrated its third Integral Bee, an annual contest to determine who is the fastest at solving math problems known as integrals. The event has become a tradition at the University with the purpose of making mathematics more approachable and enjoyable to students. It was organized by the Math Club and supported by the math department.
“The goal is to attract students to math by engaging them in exciting activities like these,” said Dr. Udita Katugampola, assistant professor of mathematics and the faculty advisor for the event. “It is also very enthusiastic, encouraging and rewarding to see how they compete against each other to find solutions to math problems fast as a lightning.”
This year, the winner and Grand Integrator was computer engineering junior Zach Peltzer, from Milton, Florida. In second place was Jeremy Meritt, an electrical engineering senior from Winter Garden, Florida. Steven Felker, who is a sophomore from Palm Beach, Florida, majoring in computer engineering, followed in third place. Stephen Andrews, a freshman from Kissimmee majoring in mechanical engineering, took the fourth place.
The first Integral Bee was organized by MIT in 1981. Since then, the competition has become a yearly tradition at many universities including University of Florida, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Pittsburgh, and Texas A&M.
Katugampola said that the Integral Bee tradition will continue to grow stronger at Florida Poly year after year, because it helps students demonstrate their math and problem-solving skills. The contest also increases their ability to work under pressure and time management, since they were given only two minutes to solve the most challenging problems.
“Students were presented with ‘beautifully crafted’ integrals for them to solve in fast and elegant ways, using methods learned in the classroom and the outcomes were extraordinary,” said Katugampola. “At the end, this enables them to build the confidence they need to be successful in the endeavor of their journey of life.”
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