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Edison Academy student is first female to win national math competition
22 September 2023 · Joseph Bakes
Sargam Mondal (Central Jersey B1) scored nine out of ten on the individual round and was the top individual for ARML 2023. The top twenty individuals on-site received a cash prize courtesy of the D.E. Shaw group. Isaiah Gomez/Middlesex County Magnet Schools
Sargam Mondal, a junior at Middlesex County’s Edison Academy Magnet School, made history in a national high school math competition, coming in first among more than 1,600 competitors.
No female had won the championship in the 40-plus years of the American Regions Mathematics League’s competition. Sargam, an Edison resident, had finished second in 2022 while a freshman.
Her principal, Amro Mosaad, likened the win to becoming the first woman to be elected president of the United States.
“This is the most prestigious high school math competition there is,” he said. “It’s a national competition competing in four regions on the same day – they compile all the scores and she was first in all the regions.”
Sargam’s victory, held at Penn State University in June, came while she was still a sophomore, so she will have a chance to “three-peat.”
“I’m very proud to say we have a trailblazer,” said Mosaad, who is director of Sargam’s Central Jersey Math League team, which finished in the Top 10 in the national competition.
“We hope that her achievement is going to encourage more girls to participate in mathematics and in STEM in general,” Mosaad said.
Sargam is doing what she can to encourage female students, starting the Lovelace Math Circle for middle-schoolers. The online group is named for Ada Lovelace, a 19th-century mathematician and writer – and daughter of Lord Byron – who did pioneering work on what would many years later become computers.
She says it wasn’t until eighth grade that she became interested in math competitions. It is the fact that intuition and creativity are needed to solve the problems that appeals to her, she said.
Mosaad calls the problems “the SATs on steroids.”
Sargam hasn’t taken the SATs yet, but is hoping that her future may be at Oxford or Cambridge.
“I definitely want to major in mathematics and I think I want to pursue a career in applied mathematics,” she said.
“I think we will be hearing a lot more from Sargam in the future. We are so very proud of her,” said Middlesex County Magnet Schools Superintendent Jorge E. Diaz. “This is also a testament to the rigorous programming we maintain at the nationally ranked Edison Academy Magnet School.”
The Middlesex County Magnet Schools, formerly the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools, the first full-time county vocational school district in the nation, has campuses in East Brunswick, Edison, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, and Woodbridge, offering more than 30 career majors. More information is available at www.mcmsnj.net.