Meghan Finnerty | May 04, 2022

Put Your Money Where Your Math Is

Integration Bee provides opportunity to compete with other students to win cash.

Matthew Too writing on a chalkboard holding fake money

SUNY Brockport’s Department of Mathematics hosts competitions each semester that allow students to turn their math skills into money.

At the Integration Bee, students compete head-to-head racing to solve problems, and the winner walks away with $200 and a trophy. The second-place winner earns $100 and each of the finalists also earn cash.

The sixth annual Integration Bee took place on April 12, 2022. Finalists gathered in Edwards Hall where, during each round, an integral math program was given out to two competitors at a time. They had at most three minutes to get it right. Whoever finished the fastest with the correct answer moved on.

It was an atmosphere that was both intense and fun.

Competitors and spectators were spread out in a lecture hall. When the timer started, the room went silent – except for the sounds of frantic writing on the chalkboard. Whenever a correct answer was identified, the audience erupted with clapping and laughing.

Integration Bee Trophy

2022 Integration Bee Trophy

Matthew Too, a double major in biochemistry and mathematics, finished in first place. He solved the three problems that were presented in the final round at a speed that left the room in awe.

Too is the reigning champion, having also won the last time the Integration Bee took place in 2019 (it wasn’t offered in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19). But this time he said the event was more fun and that he felt more prepared.

“(Integration) is like a puzzle because you have no idea how you’re actually going to solve it. So, it’s like you have all these techniques, all these tools, (but) what tools to use,” Too said.

This year Professor Ruhan Zhao, PhD and Associate Professor Pierangela Veneziani, PhD hosted the bee and plan to return next year.

It’s really important for me,” said Veneziani. “The events provide opportunities to have positive connections with students, create a joyous atmosphere around math and sciences and regain some hope. That’s the spirit of this competition.”

The events are sponsored by Momchil Kyurkchiev ’07, an alum who is the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Leanplum, a software company. Kyurkchiev majored in Computer Science, Mathematics, and Computational Science.

Now he gives back to the college by providing funds for student prizes.

Brockport mathematics students have opportunities to compete off-campus, as well. Students can participate in local and national events including SUNYMathics, the Dick Mahoney Math Competition, Virginia Tech Regional Math Competition, William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, University of Rochester Math Olympiad, and RIT’s Mathematics and Probability/ Statistics Competition.