Photo: Courtesy of CCM, Gabriel Lukijaniuk, of Hackettstown, won third place in the individual competition at the 16th Annual New Jersey Undergraduate Mathematics Competition. Sofiia Shvaiko, of Livingston, won the highest-ranking individual score overall and the highest-ranking female score. Together, the two won first place for the highest-ranking team from a two-year institution.
By: Kimberly Redmond
A college student from Livingston earned the top prize at the 16th annual New Jersey Undergraduate Mathematics Competition (NJUMC) at Raritan Valley Community College.
Sofia Shvaiko, a freshman at the County College of Morris (CCM), won the highest-ranking individual score overall and the highest-ranking female score at the April 13 contest in Branchburg.
She was among 84 participants from two- and four-year colleges across New Jersey that competed individually and as teams.
Shvaiko and her teammate Gabriel Lukijaniuk also won first place for highest-ranking team from a two-year school.
The team’s faculty advisor, Associate Professor Kelly Fitzpatrick, said the wins were “truly impressive results” and thanked the mathematics department for its support of the students competing at NJUMC.
Shvaiko, an international student from Kharkiv, Ukraine who is currently living in Livingston, has competed in several math competitions in Eastern Europe, according to the County College of Morris.
“My family was proud of me that I proved my knowledge outside of my country and had the skills to compete,” said the computer science major.
After she graduates from the County College of Morris, Shvaiko plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Rutgers University and become a software developer, according to the County College of Morris.
Shvaiko’s teammate, Lukijaniuk, a Hackettstown resident and County College of Morris freshman, came in third place in the individual competition.
“Winning at the competition was strange,” Lukijaniuk said. “I wasn’t sure how I compared to other people who majored in math and had the same passion and studying habits as me. So I was actually quite surprised when I had found that I placed that high.”
Like Shvaiko, Lukijaniuk aims to complete his bachelor’s degree at Rutgers University. His ideal job, he said, would be a combination of math professor and math researcher.
The competition was held as part of the Garden State Undergraduate Mathematics Conference, which is a one-day event held in April each year.
After the mathematics competition in the morning, there is a student research poster session and student presentations.
This year, for the first time ever, several companies were at the conference to meet with students to give more information about job opportunities available for math majors in the areas of actuarial science, analytics and data science.
There was also a career panel featuring mathematics majors discussing how they’ve made use of their degrees in industry.
According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of math-related occupations is projected to grow 28 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Over the next decade, about 50,400 new jobs will be added.
Growth is anticipated as healthcare organizations, financial institutions, transportation service providers, airlines, hospitals, government agencies and other businesses continue to emphasize using data, which math occupations can analyze, according to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Just a few math career paths include: actuaries, computer and information research scientists, economists, financial analysts, mathematicians, teachers and statisticians, according to the Department of Labor.