December 06, 2023

By Rebecca Mohr, Capital University Communications Manager

Capital Shines as the Epicenter of Innovation for High School Students

An annual convergence of innovation and intellect, Capital plays host to two dynamic events in connection with the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Physics – the Ohio High School Mathematics Invitational Olympiad (OHMIO) and the TECH CORPS Hackathon. These events bring together the brightest young minds from high schools across the state, creating an atmosphere filled with enthusiasm and a shared passion for STEM.

Sponsored by the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics and coordinated with the assistance of Paula Federico, Ph.D., professor, mathematics, computer science and physics, the OHMIO occurs every first Saturday of November. Approximately 100 students from across Ohio are welcomed to Capital’s campus.

 “The goal for this competition is to reward mathematical excellence and encourage teamwork among high school students,” said Federico. “The students participate individually and in teams. There’s another competition first, and the one at Capital is the second level. The top scoring students and a team that the school puts together then get to participate at the Math Olympiad.”

All Ohio public, private, and home-schooled students in grades 9-12 are invited to participate. In 1998, approximately 30 Ohio Mathematics Educators convened to plan a second level of competition to follow the Ohio Council of Teachers Mathematics tournament. Capital, being centrally located in Columbus, was chosen as the competition site, and has been the host ever since.

"My role is just to help coordinate with the director of the competition," said Federico. "These are students who already like math, who enjoy a challenge. I think it’s a great way to explore an interest and compete, which is always exciting."

Much like their counterparts at Capital, in a manner reminiscent of their peers at Capital, high school students seamlessly transition between intellectual pursuits, showcasing a diverse array of skills. The former arena of mathematical theory on campus undergoes a transformative shift, evolving into a technological hub as Capital eagerly hosts the TECH CORPS Hackathon.

On November 11, 2023, the 2023 TECH CORPS Hackathon brought together more than 150 high school students at three locations across the state for a 12-hour event, concluding with the students presenting their apps. Capital students have the opportunity to volunteer during the event, often paving the way for future opportunities with TECH CORPS.

“Over the summer, I worked for TECH CORPS as an instructor for the IT On Ramp+ program, which specialized in helping high school students learn computer science and math concepts over the span of four weeks. I loved working with the students and seeing how each of them found different ways to solve problems. I enjoyed watching difficult concepts click for some students that struggled initially as they began to understand. I also loved seeing students use their creativity to produce fantastic projects,” said Ally Davis ’24, computer science. “Teaching at the Hackathon was an easy yes for me!”

The Hackathon is a coding competition, providing participants with the opportunity to delve into real-world problem-solving. In the morning, students are put into groups and taught essential coding skills. The afternoon is dedicated to designing an app that offers a novel solution to a real-world issue.

“This year was my first year at the TechCorps Hackathon and TechCorps’s first year using SwiftUI to code the apps, so I went in not really knowing what to expect,” said Davis. “However, I was pleasantly surprised with how innovative and creative the students were. They were all quick learners and had amazing ideas that they eventually figured out how to implement. It was so fun getting to see some of them in their element and collaborating with their mentors to figure out what the best way to solve their issues were.”

By hosting campus events and cultivating community partnerships, Capital is committed to providing students with access to technology, skills, and resources essential for success in their chosen fields.

“I was pleased to see President Kaufman speak at the Hackathon. Seeing a university president that cares not only about the current attending generation but the future attending generation as well, fills me with joy,” said Davis. “His taking time out of a Saturday to speak and inspire high school students in the STEM field made me proud to attend a university that cares.”

For more information about math at Capital, visit http://2zqh.reginahsrunway.com/academics/majors-and-minors/mathematics/.

To learn more about computer science at Capital, visit http://2zqh.reginahsrunway.com/academics/majors-and-minors/computer-science/.