St. Norbert College students fare well in Wisconsin Math Modeling Challenge

From St. Norbert College, October 15, 2010
by Mike Counter, mike.counter@snc.edu, (920) 403-3089

St. Norbert College students Koren Bandoch, Tomahawk, Wis., Jamie Biesinger, Oshkosh, Wis., and Caesar Cai, Shanghai, China, participated in the Wisconsin Math Modeling Challenge, a 24-hour mathematical modeling contest held at UW-La Crosse on Oct. 2-3. The students won the written category, finished second in the presentation category, and for their exemplary work received student licenses for mathematics. In addition, the St. Norbert College mathematics discipline received an honorary plaque.

Eight teams, representing five Wisconsin colleges and universities, developed and tested models addressing open-ended, real-life problems. The challenge tested their ability to combine research, formal writing, teamwork and communication skills, culminating in a one-page executive summary and 10-minute presentation of their work at the end of the 24-hour period.

The St. Norbert group chose to model the sustainability of the U.S. Post Office due to the rise in online communication and increasing pressure to "go green." They developed formulas to predict profit and loss, and determine whether increasing postage costs ending Saturday delivery or other techniques could keep the USPS viable.

A panel of faculty from surrounding colleges judged the teams, who were also judged on presentation by their peers.