The H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, renowned for fostering innovation in mathematics, statistics, and engineering, highlights its commitment through the acclaimed ISyE AP Statistics High School Competition, a cornerstone initiative shaping future industry leaders, specifically from underrepresented backgrounds.  

In Spring 2022, ISyE expanded its reach by offering its first probability and statistics competition for high school students.  

With 40 finalists participating in a full day of competition, workshops, guest speakers, and networking, the event marked a milestone in fostering academic excellence. 

As explained by Dr. Tuba Ketenci, Director of Educational Outreach and a key organizer of the event, the competition is much more than a contest; it's a gateway for high school students, hailing from diverse backgrounds, to the realms of applied mathematics and engineering. 

Dr. Ketenci sheds light on the collaborative effort involving Ph.D. students, postdocs, the communications department, and math teachers from various counties, emphasizing the multifaceted nature of organizing such an event.  

The competition unfolds in two dynamic stages, beginning with an online round tailored for nationwide accessibility, ensuring inclusivity for students across the country – and globally. 

Scheduled for January 26, 2024, the initial round is meticulously crafted by ISyE's current Ph.D. students, who delve into the high school statistics curriculum to develop a challenging set of multiple-choice questions.  

Following this, the top 40 standout performers from the first round earn the prestigious opportunity to advance to the second round, further showcasing their statistical acumen. 

The second stage elevates the experience for the top contenders by bringing them to the Georgia Tech campus for a lively, in-person competition on April 19, 2024.  

This round extends beyond the contest, offering hands-on activities, a comprehensive campus tour, and the decisive final competition. The event concludes with an awards ceremony, celebrating the exceptional talents of these young statisticians. 

Dr. Ketenci emphasizes the significance of aligning the competition questions with the high school AP statistics curriculum. “We take the AP stat book and we look at the content that teachers are planning to cover by January and create the questions for the first round. By mid-april, most chapters are covered which allows us to create questions from the entire book”. 

The competition awards not only monetary prizes but also medals and certificates to acknowledge outstanding achievements. From cash prizes for the top three performers to medals for school winners and those on the National Honor Roll, the event strives to recognize and celebrate excellence at various levels. 

Plans for the future include addressing diverse challenges by adding more content to the competition and potentially incorporating advanced classes to attract a broader participant base. 

As the competition evolves, its impact is poised to extend further, inspiring a new generation of talent and contributing to the academic landscape. The vision is clear: to embed the competition into high school curriculums, make it a recognized and anticipated event nationwide. 

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Authors: Atharva Anand Dave, Natalie Esparza  

AP Stats Competition