21st annual Pythagorean Prize honors finest math students
By James Paxson, Sports Editor
The 2016 Pythagorean Prize, a coveted Schoolcraft math award, winners were recently announced honoring Schoolcraft’s top math students from the 2015-16 academic year. The Pythagorean Prize has been a Schoolcraft tradition for the last 21 years when it was established by former math Schoolcraft professor Larry Williams and was taken over by current chair of the Committee Sandra Kerr ten years ago. The Schoolcraft math department takes great pride in presenting this award to recognize the hard-working students that earn this honor every year. This year’s recipients are first place winner Philip Sisk, second place winner Joseph Peper and third place winner Taulant Karasali.
“We are very proud of being able to reward our top students with the Pythagorean Prize each year,” said head of the Committee Sandra Kerr. “It is such a pleasure for us as a department to be able to present this award.”
Each year the candidates are chosen based on qualifications that are mathematics related and educational achievements. The qualifications to be a prize winner this year include: be enrolled in classes at Schoolcraft for both the fall and winter semesters, be completing or have completed at least three mathematics courses at Schoolcraft College, have completed or be completing one math class that is a 200 level or above, maintain an overall grade point average of 3.25, a grade point average of at least 3.5 in all mathematics courses and an in depth application that had to be completed and submitted by the March 8 deadline.
The Math Department offers $5,500 in award money for the three winners of this year’s Pythagorean prizes. The first place winner will be awarded $3,000, second place will be awarded $1,500 and third place will be awarded $1,000.
The first place Pythagorean Prize winner is second year student Philip Sisk. Sisk received all A’s in his math classes throughout his Schoolcraft career and was a huge help to many students by spending his time in the Learning Assistance Center (LAC).
“I was very surprised but excited to win, I’m looking forward to giving a speech, getting a plaque and the department putting my name on the wall,” said Sisk.
Sisk will attend the University of Michigan to study electrical engineering next fall. He took six math classes at Schoolcraft and received a 4.0 in all of his classes to become the 22nd winner of the Pythagorean Prize at Schoolcraft.
The second place winner is second year student Joseph Peper. Peper took six math classes while attending Schoolcraft. In addition, Peper is also the President of the Math and Physics Club and a tutor in the Schoolcraft Learning Assistance Center. He will be attending to the University of Michigan in the fall to pursue a Computer Science degree.
“I am very appreciative of them giving me this award, it definitely feels like my hard work paid off,” said Peper.
Third place winner, Karasali is currently enrolled in Schoolcraft’s differential equations class with Professor Michael McCoy and was thrilled when McCoy announced his name as one of this year’s winners. Math is one of his favorite subjects and he will continue to help students in the Learning Assistance Center (LAC) with all of their mathematics needs. He will be transferring to the University of Michigan in the fall to continue his love of mathematics to study engineering.
“When I found out I was one of the winners I was excited, many people told me to apply without thinking I would be one of the winners,” said third place winner Taulant Karasali.
The Schoolcraft Mathematics Department will be recognizing the Pythagorean Prize winners on April 19 in a formal presentation in VisTaTech room 210. Schoolcraft President Dr. Conway Jeffress, Vice President of Instruction Richard Weinkauf and Vice President of Student Services Cheryl Hagen will be on hand to present prizes, plaques and certificates to the most impressive students in the mathematic field in the 2015-2016 school year.