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Waiakea senior wins “Who Wants to be a Mathematician?”

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Date: Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Nolan Kamitaki, a senior at Waiakea High School, won “Who Wants to be a Mathematician?” December 7 at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

Kamitaki, the school’s math league team captain, took home the $3,000 grand prize in the mathematics competition for high school students, sponsored by the UH Hilo Mathematics Department in conjunction with the American Mathematical Society.

Devin Chu of Hilo High was awarded $500 as the runner-up.

The other contestants, who received calculators and textbooks for their participation, were Mark Seu of Waiakea, Chloe Nishoka of Hilo, Jonghui Kim of St. Joseph, Roland Mitts of Honoka`a, and Geoff Whitener and Yinsong Gao of Kealakehe.

“Mathematics is alive and vibrant across the Big Island,” said Dr. Roberto Pelayo, assistant professor of math. “The enthusiasm of the parents, students, and teachers made ‘Who Wants to be a Mathematician?' a true celebration of Mathematics.”

Kamitaki adds his “Who Wants to be a Mathematician?” title to an impressive and growing list of awards. In August, he received a $25,000 scholarship from the Davidson Institute as one of the top achievers among American high schoolers. In 2006, he won a $20,000 Young Scientists award from The Discovery Channel for his study of arsenic levels of former sugar land in East Hawaiʻi and of students and teachers in schools on the land. He also won the Hawai‘i State Science and Engineering Fair in 2007 with his computer simulation project, “Programming a Network Approach to Contain the Spread of Epidemics.”

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