Interview with Mathletes Joshua Berger and Ricky Morse
Senior Josh Berger and junior Ricky Morse took the AMC 12 in February 2017. (via Sabine Katsoulos, senior)
Pine Crest has a flourishing Math Club, which competes in several competitions throughout the year. In the most recent, the American Mathematics Competition (AMC), two members scored high enough to advance to the next level. This week, Type One sits down with these two students, Joshua Berger and Richard Morse, to get the scoop.
T1: What got you interested in math?JB: I’ve been interested in math for as long as I can remember. It just kind of made sense to me; it seemed very straightforward and factual, and it just seemed like something I could practice and get better at no matter what, and it didn’t involve much memorization. It seemed like something I was good at. In middle school, I was in a few math competitions, so of course as soon as I got in high school, I joined the math club, so I could do math competitions in high school.
RM: I qualified for States in Mathcounts in middle school. I like the AMC because I enjoy solving the higher level logical reasoning problems that it offers.
T1: What is the AMC, and what does it mean that you are advancing to the next phase?RM: Basically, the AMC is the first of a series of math competitions throughout America that ends with twelve students being selected as the US team for the International Math Olympiad.
JB: If you get a high enough score, you’ll be able to move on to the harder competition (the AIME), which is invitation-only. That test is much harder; the AIME answers are integers from 1 to 999, so you can no longer guess. If you do well on that, then you get to go on to the USA Math Olympiad, which is a two-day 12-hour proof-based test, so basically you have to write proofs for the answers.
T1: How have you been preparing for the competitions?JB: I practiced from some past AMC tests, and for AIME I did the same thing, practicing from the past AIME tests.
RM: I reviewed problems from January to the test today and worked on learning to solve problems I had trouble with.
T1: Do you have any other activities or interests?JB: I do engineering, I’m part of the robotics team, and I did some research in high school at FAU and UF.
RM: Right now I'm working on genetic algorithms to predict things in the real world. I also run on the PC track and XC teams.
T1: Favorite vegetable? Type of music?RM: My favorite vegetable is easily Broccoli. My favorite music is alt music.
T1: Do you plan to pursue math in the future?JB: I definitely plan to pursue a career that involves math, either engineering or something like that. Maybe I’ll minor in math.
RM: When I go to college, I hope to study something in math or comp sci, and in the future I hope to make a major contribution in one of these fields.
T1: Do you have any tips or inspirational quotes for aspiring mathletes?RM: I'd tell aspiring mathletes that they are better at math than they know, and that if they work at math, it will start to seem simpler. To practice at things, I look at my weaknesses and try to improve, while also enjoying what I am doing. My favorite quote is "Pride is not the opposite of shame, but its source, only true humility is the opposite of shame," by Uncle Iroh.
The AIME is coming up, so on behalf of the PC community, Type One would like to wish Ricky and Joshua the best of luck!
Editor-in-Chief; "If your mother loves you, check it out," John Kupetz