JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast celebrated National Engineers Week volunteering with the Florida Engineering Society (FES) MathCounts competition March 1 at the University of North Florida (UNF) Arena in Jacksonville, Fla.
The FES sponsored event was open to middle school students in a five-county area around Jacksonville. This year 46 schools participated with teams of 4-8 students.
“We [the NAVFAC volunteers] welcomed the teams and chatted with them about the opportunities of an engineering education and encouraged them to continue to hone their math skills,” said Katharine Martin, NAVFAC Southeast utilities technical branch supervisor and one of the 25 NAVFAC volunteers.
The team of volunteers also acted as proctors and graders for the written portions of the tests, amazed at the rapid calculation skills exhibited by students during the oral rounds.
“I would like to thank everyone who participated last week in MathCounts,” said NAVFAC Southeast Executive Officer Capt. Scott Hurst. “I was truly impressed by the math skills of the middle school students participating in the event; I had to eat some humble pie as I looked at the questions they were answering.”
The MathCounts Competition Program is a national middle school coaching and competitive mathematics program that promotes mathematics achievement through a series of fun and engaging “bee” style contests.
Martin and other volunteers assigned to NAVFAC Southeast, serve as role models and mentors for the students throughout the school. Martin believes continued support from role models, mentors and MathCounts competitions help increase the interest in mathematics for young scholars.
“I became interested in engineering societies in a previous career,” said Martin. “I was encouraged to explore the field and I became an engineer. I hope I can help others make that same decision.”
The National MathCounts Foundation is a non-profit organization that has been working with middle school students to promote excellence in mathematics for over a quarter century. Since the program began in 1983, over 6 million students have developed critical-thinking and problem-solving skills through participation.