Interview with mathlete Junhao Zhang

Lauren Azevedo, Staffer

Lauren Azevedo
Smiling, senior Junhao Zhang holds his trophy from a math competition. Zhang went with a group of other students from Mu Alpha Theta.

Q: How did you get into Mu Alpha Theta? 

A: I was invited in my freshman year. I was approached by a teacher about this competition and I was interested in it.   

Q: What made you want to join? 

A: I really enjoy math. I’m naturally good at it and the competitive setting helps and motivates me to learn more.   

Q: How did you qualify to go to USF to compete? 

A: We had several practices from which we selected each of our team members. 

Q: What was the competition for? 

A: It was a calculus competition among different schools.  

Q: What was the competition like? 

A: We first get a round of individual tests. Its 20 questions in 45 minutes with no calculator. After that, we do the team round where you have four people on your team, and you work together to finish a question in 3 minutesThe faster you are, the more points you get. Afterward is the award ceremony.  

Q: How many people were you competing against? 

A: There were about 26 schools for calculus. Individually, it was four people from each school, making it near 105 people.  

Q: Were there people along the way supporting you? 

A: My math teachers that I’ve had over the years said they’d love if I did this competition.  

Q: Who was there from Plant competing with you? 

A: The calculus team is Benny Cortese, Shibani Rana, Pedro Lapagesse and I.   

Q: How well did you place in the competition? 

A: I received fifth place as an individual competitor.  

Q: How did you feel when you placed in the competition? 

A: I feel like I could have gotten higher. [The placement] was expected since we talked to other schools and see how they do. We kind of get an idea of how they’ll perform.  

Q: Were you excited at all for your winning? 

A: Yes, I was.