MORRIS COUNTY — Two County College of Morris (CCM) freshmen won top prizes at the 16th Annual New Jersey Undergraduate Mathematics Competition (NJUMC) recently held at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg.
A total of 84 participants from two- and four-year colleges across the state competed individually and as teams. Sofiia Shvaiko, of Livingston, won the highest-ranking individual score overall and the highest-ranking female score. Her teammate, Gabriel Lukijaniuk, of Hackettstown, won third place in the individual competition. Together, they won first place for the highest-ranking team from a two-year institution.
Shvaiko is an international student from Kharkiv, Ukraine and has competed in several math competitions in Eastern Europe. Still, the computer science major was not certain she could win the top spot in the NJUMC. “My family was proud of me that I proved my knowledge outside of my country and had the skill to compete,” she says. When she graduates from CCM, she hopes to complete her bachelor’s degree at Rutgers University and become a software developer.
“Winning at the competition was strange,” Lukijaniuk says. “I wasn’t sure how I compared to other people who majored in math and had the same passion and studying habits as me. So I was actually quite surprised when I had found that I placed that high.”
Like his teammate, he prepared for the competition by going to the NJUMC website and taking tests from past competitions. He says the tips and techniques he learned from his math classes at CCM gave him an edge. He hopes to complete his bachelor’s degree at Rutgers University. His ideal job would be a combination of math professor and math researcher.
“Our thanks go out to the entire mathematics faculty for supporting these students throughout their academic journey, as well as to Don Phelps, director of Campus Life, and the Math Club for funding the competition,” says Associate Professor Kelly Fitzpatrick, advisor to the team. “These wins are truly impressive results.”
Following the competition, students enjoyed the day viewing poster presentations, listening to student talks and hearing from major companies about job opportunities for math majors in actuarial science, analytics and data science.