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Girls win medals for math team

  1. August 17, 2007
  2. Jessie Mangaliman, Staff Writer
  4. http://www.msri.org/communications/articles/attachments/sjmercury08172007.pdf

Three Bay Area students, members of an eight-member team that competed in an international math olympiad in China, won bronze medals Thursday.

Patricia Li, of San Jose, a senior at Lynbrook High School; Marianna Mao, of Fremont, a junior at Mission San Jose High School; and Wendy Mu, of Saratoga, a senior at Saratoga High School, won bronze medals at the 2007 Mathematical Olympiad for Girls in central China.

Two team members from the East Coast each won a gold and silver medal at the competition.

About 180 high school-age girls on 42 teams from China, Russia, the United States and various Asian countries competed.

For two days in Wuhan in central China, the girls solved difficult math problems. The results were announced during ceremonies Thursday.

"I think it's wonderful," said Robert Bryant, director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute
in Berkeley, the non-profit sponsor of girls' team's participation in the olympiad. "Obviously, they're very talented young women and show the depth of talent we have here in the States."

Marianna Mao, 15, said students in China and Asia were probably better prepared for the olympiad than the American team.

"So it's really great that we got to have medals," she said in a telephone interview from her hotel in Xian, where the team is sightseeing before returning Monday to San Francisco.

"We came here without any experience in this competition," said coach Zuming Feng. "They did well and I think it will be good encouragement for other students. It shows we're very capable."

It is the first time the United States participated in the prestigious international math competition for girls.

"The test questions were a lot harder than I expected," said Patricia Li. "So I'm pleased with a medal."

Syangping Ho, Patricia's mother, said she talked with her daughter Thursday morning.

"I'm so proud of them," Ho said. "They overcame many obstacles, including a tough competition."

Officials of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute
will greet the winning U.S. team early Monday morning when members arrive in San Francisco.