The UC Merced Math Center is the newest resource on campus for getting math help any day of the week and on March 14, Pi Day, the Math Center hosted their annual Integration Bee. The Integration Bee is a bracket elimination-style competition and tests the speed and accuracy of competitors’ skills in integral and differential calculus.

This year, the Integration Bee was held in the Garden Room of the Dining Commons and the room was packed with over 50 students and faculty. There was a projector setup and the windows were used as a white board where competitors could write their answers. The competition was limited to two people at a time competing against each other to see who was the best at integrating. The contestants only had a limited amount of time to solve whatever integral was displayed on the projector screen.

As intimidating as calculus may seem for some people, the room was buzzing with chatter and cheering with each new round of integrals. Students would talk amongst themselves and attempt to solve the integrals even when they were not competing. Men and women alike would shout the answer if the two competitors did not produce the correct solution, and each correct answer was met with applause. Sigry, a first year student and competitor in this year’s Integration Bee shared how she got involved with the competition, “My math professor, Haik, encouraged us to participate–also I love math!”

The Integration Bee was an event that showed the side of math that makes it unique and important to everyday life. It was more than just a calculus competition–it brought different types of people with different backgrounds, as well as students and staff, together to practice problem solving. It celebrated student success, which is The Math Center’s mission, and rewarded its participants with prizes and praise.

The Math Center is just another way that UC Merced seeks to help its students. It is conveniently open Monday through Thursday 11:30am – 6:30pm in SSB 320 so that students can access the help they need when they need it. Sigry went on to talk about The Math Center, saying, “I think The Math Center is a great resource for students on campus…hopefully it will make students more comfortable with math.” Needless to say, the Integration Bee was a success!


Picture Credits: Marcus Fox