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Dual-enrolled student wins Pythagorean Prize

By Christian Hollis, Editor-In-Chief

AjaySmall
Ajay Arora has received the prestigious Pythagorean Award at age 17 while being a dual-enrolled student. The award recognizes the best mathematics students at the college. (Photo by Chrissy Begle, Layout and Design Editor)

Every year, the Pythagorean Prize competition recognizes the best mathematics students at the college, especially those who excel in challenging upper-level math courses. Schoolcraft student Ajay Arora finished first in the United States in the 2017-2018 Student Math League Contest, scoring 77.5 out of 80 points, the highest score since 2012-2013. He will receive the first-place Pythagorean Prize at the Award Reception, April 17, from 3:15 to 5 p.m. in room Waterman 210 of the VisTaTech Center.

Arora is a dual-enrolled student, currently finishing up his Junior year at Novi High School. He has been taking classes at Schoolcraft College since his freshman year of high school in 2015, following the footsteps of his sister, Ashi, who also studied at Schoolcraft during high school. Ashi brought her younger brother Ajay to a Math and Physics club meeting in 2013 when Ajay was in seventh grade.

“Professors Mike McCoy and Randy Schwartz, they were able to help make the
process of integrating me into the club, really smooth,” Arora recalls.

I had lots of exposure to math before then, but the Math and Physics Club is what opened my eyes to the applications of knowledge, like how you can use it in the real world, robotics, engineering… all sort of things like that. It is a really cool thing, like being able to see how math and physics can be used.”

Schoolcraft faculty members have conveyed praise for Arora after the news of his recent accolades.

“It’s been wonderful watching Ajay grow and thrive here at Schoolcraft,” said professor
Michael McCoy, Math and Physics Club adviser. “Ajay is destined for greatness; and I wish him the very best as he advances in his academic and professional career.”

Karuna Arora, Ajay’s mother added, “We are grateful to the Math and Physics Club…Schoolcraft is my family.”

Arora also contributes to the Asian Student Association and Phi Theta Kappa. “My favorite part about Schoolcraft is the community,” said Arora with a smile. “Through this college, I have been able to meet so many people that are like-minded; they have the same plans, and they want to help the community in the same way.”

Arora will be finishing up his final year of high school starting this fall. Though he has plans for applying, he still has yet to decide to which university he will be transferring.

In addition to Arora, two other students will merit honors at the Pythagorean Prize Award Reception, Connie (Kangni) Liu and Harshang Patel. Liu will receive the second-place prize of $1500 and Patel the third-place prize of $1000. Thirteen students in all met the requirements to be considered for the prizes.

The Pythagorean Prize award began in 1995 through the efforts of Larry Williams, now an Emeritus Professor of Mathematics. The program includes substantial prize amounts thanks, in part, to a bequest from the family of Floyd and Marian Kehrl to the Schoolcraft College Foundation. Additional funds are provided by Student Services, the Science Division, and by mathematics and other instructors.

Everyone is encouraged to attend the award reception and celebrate these outstanding students’ achievements.