Math Modeling Team Wins Highest Award

Caption: The winning Math Modeling team is recognized by the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School Regional School Board. From left to right, Dr. John Barnes, Ashish Makadia, Dianne Pettitt (Regional School Board Chair), Eric Tyler, Susan Ballentine, and Will Farmer. 
One of Maggie Walker’s Math Modeling teams was one of only eight teams in the world (top 3%) to be awarded the highest designation of “National Outstanding.” The National Outstanding team members, who are all seniors from Chesterfield County, were Susan Ballentine, Will Farmer, Ashish Makadia and Eric Tyler. 

“This was the 15th Maggie Walker team to win the National Outstanding designation,” said Coach and instructor Dr. John Barnes, “more than any other high school in the world.”

Last November, 277 teams from around the world participated in a 36-hour contest in mathematical modeling sponsored by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP).

The team addressed the problem of predicting the devastation caused by tsunamis in various international cities. In particular they were asked to: “build a model that compares the devastation of various-sized earthquakes and their resulting tsunamis on the following cities: San Francisco, CA; Hilo, HI; New Orleans, LA; Charleston, SC; New York, NY; Boston, MA; and any city of your choice.”

The team researched the problem, created a mathematical analysis, and wrote up their results in a 30-page report. 

Two other Maggie Walker teams were designated Regional Outstanding, putting them in the top 8% of participants. One of these teams consisted of seniors Adam Bivens (Hanover), Matthew Gill (Richmond), Cameron Napps (Chesterfield) and Emily Qiu (Goochland). The other Regional Outstanding team consisted of seniors Erica Cousins, Laura Goodfellow and Matt Nguyen, all of Henrico, along with Cody Talmadge of Chesterfield.

Four other Maggie Walker teams also participated in the contest, two of whom were designated “Meritorious,” placing them in the top 30%. One of the Meritorious teams consisted of senior Hennessy Fraher, along with juniors Tommy Casalaspi, Juan Garavito and Jason Kong all of Chesterfield County.

The other meritorious team consisted of seniors Kyle Herman of Chesterfield, along with Niklas Philipsen, Jocelyn Powelson and Virginia Young all from Richmond. The latter team chose a different problem. They were asked to “devise an effective, feasible, and cost-efficient national water strategy for 2010 to meet the projected needs of the United States in 2025.”

The full results of the contest can be found at  The full problem statements can be found at