Alexandria Students Advance to Finals in Prestigious International Math Competition

For 14 straight hours in early March, a small group of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology students came together to participate in an international online math competition.

The students – Rishabh Chhabra, Om Gole, Rishabh Prabhu, Laura Zhang, and Victoria Zhang of Alexandria-based Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology – make up one of the nine finalist teams in MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge (M3 Challenge), a unique competition that drew nearly 3,000 11th and 12th graders in the U.S. and sixth form students in the U.K. this year. The team, whose work underwent intense scrutiny by judges in the first two rounds of assessment, has one last hurdle when they head to New York City on April 29 to present their findings to a panel of professional mathematicians for final validation.

Now in its 19th year, M3 Challenge is a program of Philadelphia-based Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and is sponsored by MathWorks.

The team’s coach, mathematics teacher Sewon Yang, explained that the “M3 Challenge has really pushed our team to dive deeper into math and has inspired a couple of our team members to pursue careers related to mathematical modeling.”

Team member Rishabh Prabhu said that he found his experience to be some of the most informative, transformative, and enriching moments of his high school career. “Through preparing for and participating in this competition, I have realized that mathematical modeling is my passion.

For more information about M3 Challenge, visit