Sophomore qualifies for elite math training program


Provided by Jeffrey Chen

Sophomore Jeffrey Chen poses next to his acceptance letter to the Mathematical Olympiad Program. The Mathematical Olympiad Program is an elite training program for competition math typically held at Carnegie Mellon University but will be virtual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ryan Clark, Opinion Editor

Tens of thousands of participants compete each year in the Mathematical Olympiad Program, and only about 60 qualify. U-High student Jeffrey Chen is one of them. He’s only a sophomore.

The Mathematical Olympiad Program is an elite training program for competition math that also selects American delegates to the International Mathematical Olympiad each year.

Starting in middle school, Jeffrey gradually rose through the several levels of the MathCounts competition through school, local, state and finally national by the time he was in eighth grade.

Jeffrey has turned his efforts to the American Mathematics Competition series now that he is in high school. After scoring in the top 5% of the open AMC competition, he took the American Invitational Mathematics Examination. His score on the AIME qualified him for the United States of America Junior Mathematical Olympiad and then later the full USA Mathematical Olympiad.

“I’m pretty excited for this opportunity this summer,” Jeffrey said. “I was pretty surprised because I didn’t really expect myself to make it at all, and I also was pretty surprised to make the blue division.”

The blue division is the second-highest division of the 60 MOP participants, a feat he achieved by studying competitive math around 30 hours per week. Jeffrey’s main object now is to score well on the internal examinations for MOP participants.

“My goal this year is to make the TST, which is the top 30 in the MOP out of 60 participants,” he said.

Jeffrey will spend 18 days at the MOP summer camp, a program usually held in person at Carnegie Mellon University but which will be virtual this year due to coronavirus.

In addition to his work in competitive math, Jeffrey is crafting reviews of the academic literature in abstract and linear algebra.