By Anan Afrida (YES 2019-2020, Bangladesh, placed with PAX in Renton, WA)
During my exchange year in the United States, I was able to nourish my longheld passion for math. After arriving to the U.S., my curiosity for math led me to take advanced-level math courses, including IB and AP Calculus. Through my good performance in the classroom, I got my teacher's and friends' attention. I built up a pretty great group of math enthusiasts. We used to chat and solve math problems after school. I observed the number of these people was increasing. After some days, I came up with the idea of establishing a math club and talked with my math teacher. Since I already had a pretty large group of math lovers, it wasn't hard to gather members and create a club.
To encourage other students to learn math, my fellow club members and I did activities like Problem of the Week, Pi Day Lunch Room activities, and conducted local online math competitions. I also used to go to different schools to publicize our math club events. I not only learned about leadership through these activities but also learned how to solve problems. One time, I attended a meeting in which all the club presidents of the school were present. At the meeting, I had to represent my whole club, discuss our plans for the next school year, and propose the budget by signing an official document. By being an advocate and dealing with financial matters, I learned how to be a true leader. Moreover, the U.S. math club continues to grow, which gives me the feeling that I've left an important legacy.
With the help of my club advisor, we applied to the Harvard MIT Math Tournament (HMMT) and got selected to participate in it. Though we couldn't participate that year because of issues related to travel, my club members from the U.S. and I, from Bangladesh, participated in the contest. This was only possible because they made the competition virtual this year. We participated in three different rounds, including an individual and team round. Through this competition, I got an opportunity to meet math lovers from other countries, including the United States.
I was one of the very first Bangladeshis to participate in this competition. This made me remember the times when I used to tell my mom, "Mom, I want to hear about Anan Afrida from Bangladesh someday." Now that dream has come true.