The Math Talent Search, sponsored by the Department of Mathematics, was established in 1963 to engage and encourage middle and high school students interested in math. The contest, which awards a $24,000 scholarship to UW–Madison, has identified young Wisconsin students who have gone on to become mathematicians or pursued careers in finance, computer science, and statistics. Students who take on the Math Talent Search are challenged to complete complex problems and equations. The reward for arriving at the correct solution: a chance to tackle even more difficult questions and, perhaps, win it all.
Thomas Hameister, the 50th winner of the competition, came to UW–Madison to study math and work as an Undergraduate Research Scholar with Professor Gloria Mari Beffa, chair of the Department of Mathematics. Hameister’s research with Professor Mari Beffa has pushed him academically, but for him, the more challenging, the better—Hameister believes that “the more exposure you get to stuff that’s over your head, the better you become.”