Virginia 10th Grader Wins Math Competition at MIT

September 19, 2011

CAMBRIDGE, MA. September 19, 2011—Victoria Xia of Vienna, Virginia won the $25,000 prize for first place in the third annual Advantage Testing Foundation Math Prize for Girls at MIT on Saturday. The competition offers the world’s largest cash prize awarded in a math contest for young women.

276 high school girls from across the nation and Canada participated in the competition.

Ms. Xia, a 10th grader enrolled in Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA, received the top score on the 150-minute exam. Danielle Wang of Westmont High School in Campbell, CA and Julia Huang of Lynbrook High School in San Jose, CA placed second and third respectively and each earned $7,500.

Ms. Xia valued the opportunity to compete in a math contest exclusively for young women. “If you look at our math team in school, the vast majority are guys,” she said. “It’s nice to have events like this to promote more women in the field.”

She also noted that many of the contestants form friendships and communities that extend beyond the annual competition. “Not only do you meet new people, you get to catch up with your old friends,” Ms. Xia continued. “I knew a lot of the girls here and it was really great to see all of them.”

Advantage Testing Foundation President Arun Alagappan and MIT President Susan Hockfield welcomed participants and their families to the awards ceremony at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium. Both noted the need for young women in math and science to develop networks that would support their aspirations.

“Study after study has confirmed—the nations that consistently perform the best on international tests in math and science are those in which there is less pronounced disparity among men and women in those disciplines,” Mr. Alagappan said. “Simply put: a nation is strongest when it draws leaders from every talent pool.”

Dr. Ravi Boppana, the Director of the Math Prize for Girls, echoed these sentiments. “The professions that drive innovation and prosperity depend on knowledge and ability in science, technology, engineering, and math” he said. “In recognizing these girls, we aim to advance STEM education and encourage even more young women to pursue fields in which historically they have been underrepresented.”

Download: 2011 Advantage Testing Foundation Math Prize for Girls Winners (PDF, 87.07 KB)

Virginia 10th Grader Wins Math Competition at MIT