Mengyu "Rain" Xu '19: "I am a girl who loves math."
Mengyu "Rain" Xu '19 was selected to take part in a prestigious annual competition for high-school girls sponsored by the Advantage Testing Foundation and held at MIT in September.
This past September, I happily accepted the invitation to participate in the ninth annual Math Prize for Girls competition which is a contest held by MIT and the Advantage Testing Foundation – just for girls. To quality, I was in the top 1% of the AMC12 Competition in February 2017. The award for Math Prize for Girls was really great, too; it totaled $54, 000 in cash prizes to the top ten winners and the top twenty-five received honorable mention trophies. Those who receive an Honorable Mention Award are invited to the Math Prize Olympiad comparable to the International Mathematics Olympiad.
Usually, the invitation letter is sent out early in July, so when I received the email, I was so excited. I am a girl who loves all kinds of math competitions, and started competing in primary school. Therefore, the opportunity to join this contest was a confirmation of my skills because they only invite the top 300 (most of the time less) girls in North America. This time there were 266 girls competing in the contest.
To be involved in this level of competition – which is far more challenging than AIME (the second round of AMC) – I prepared hard this summer. I spent two hours every day engaged in math problems. The testing date this year was September 24 (Sunday) but I arrived Saturday for an admission talk, a campus tour at MIT and for game night! Because this was the first time I was participating in this contest, I was very nervous, of course. I met many girls who were just as passionate about math and really good at it. There was even a girl who qualified for USJMO in the fourth grade! So, the competition was fierce.
Following the contest, MIT hosted an awards ceremony to celebrate the winners. This was a very memorable experience because they invited scholarly members of STEM such as professors at MIT to speak. I learned a lot about bioengineering and other topics such as how to use a virus to generate electricity. It was intriguing and great to learn from such knowledgeable authorities.
Before this competition, I just thought my math was good enough, but I discovered I have still a lot of growing and learning to do. The entire competition was a 150-min test with twenty short answer questions. I was few points shy of the honorable mention, but I hope to delve even deeper into math and qualify for the second round next year!