April 25, 2023

Schoolcraft College Mathematics Department Announces Pythagorean Prize Winners

stoic statue head and math drawings

The Schoolcraft College Mathematics Department has recently announced the winners of the prestigious Pythagorean Prize, an annual scholarship given to the top three mathematics students of the academic year.

Founded by Professor Emeritus Larry Williams, it’s the department’s biggest prize and is now in its 28th year. To be considered, an applicant must: 

  • Be enrolled and have taken classes at Schoolcraft College during Fall or Winter semester of the academic year of presentation.
  • Be completing or have completed at least three mathematics courses at Schoolcraft College, with at least one course at the Math 200 level or above.
  • Have an overall grade point average of at least 3.25.
  • Have a grade point average of at least 3.50 in mathematics courses.
  • Not have been a first-place winner of this award previously.
  • Have submitted a completed application and essay by the deadline date.

This year’s winners are:

  • First place: Yash Patel, $3,000
  • Second place: Brendan Hessling, $1,500
  • Third place: Colin Lazarski, $1,000

Yash Patel, the first-place winner, enrolled in Schoolcraft College in the fall of 2021 and has excelled despite the challenges of moving to a new country and the pandemic. He has taken every 200-level math class Schoolcraft offers, earning 4.0 in all of them. Patel is also a tutor in the Learning Center and an active member of the Math & Physics Club. Patel plans to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering and credits his family for supporting him throughout his educational journey.

Brendan Hessling, the second-place winner, is pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering. This was his second attempt at the Pythagorean Prize, and he prepared for it by attending the previous year’s ceremony and learning from the winners. He plans to use his mathematical skills daily in his future career and advises future Schoolcraft College students not to take the basics for granted.

Colin Lazarski, the third-place winner, is pursuing an associate degree in engineering and will graduate in the spring of 2023. Lazarski’s passion for math was inspired by his mother, and he realized it when he took his first algebra class. He plans to progress his mathematical skills at Michigan State University and aspires to help solve complex problems in the field of engineering.

Larry Chorazewski, who won the Pythagorean Prize in 2005 and now oversees the competition, shared his personal journey to winning the award. He initially lacked confidence in his mathematical abilities, but he made it his goal to work as hard as he could to at least qualify for the award. With the encouragement, expertise and generosity of his mathematics instructors at Schoolcraft, he was able to achieve his goal.

The Pythagorean Prize competition is a celebration of the academic achievements of Schoolcraft College’s math students and highlights the importance of mathematics in today’s world. The competition not only recognizes outstanding students but also encourages others to pursue their passion for math and science. The Mathematics Department is proud of all the students who applied for the prize and looks forward to next year’s competition.

The prize amounts are made possible, in part, from a bequest from the family of Floyd and Marian Kehrl to the Schoolcraft College Foundation. Additional funds are provided by Academic Services, the Science Division, the Mathematics Department and other instructors.

All first-place prizewinners are noted on an engraved nameplate on permanent display in the Mathematics Department’s case in the Biomedical Technology Center.

For more information about the Pythagorean Prize and Ceremony, please contact Professor Larry Choraszewski at [email protected].

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