Nic Woyak: More Than Just A Number
UWSP's Central Wisconsin Mathematics League prepares for its next competition. Photo courtesy of uwsp.edu.

Nic Woyak: More Than Just A Number

The Central Wisconsin Mathematics League has been shaping lives of students from 22 different high schools throughout the area for the past 45 years and continues to impact gifted students today.

Nic Woyak, a mathematics major and senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, is a former competitor who was largely impacted by his participation in the league. For his freshman year of college, Woyak received the Howard Thoyre First Year Mathematics Scholarship, a privilege granted only to those who had previously participated in the league.

“I would say the league was directly responsible for my choice of major,” Woyak said.  “It challenged me in a way that really piqued my interest, making me realize how much I liked math and how good I was I at it.”

Throughout high school, Woyak competed against larger schools for three consecutive years. He won first place in 2009 and 2010, adding to his high school’s prestigious reputation.

“The schools are divided into four different divisions depending on their enrollment sizes,” Woyak said. “I attended Tri-County High School, which is currently the smallest division and has now won 15 years in a row.”

Following graduation, Woyak hopes to receive his PhD in mathematics and build a career around optimization problems such as adjusting routing numbers for stores and businesses.

“At the awards banquet, the keynote speaker would usually be a former competitor who is now working as an actuary, predictive risk modeler, an engineer, or some other career I had never heard of,” Woyak said. “Many of those careers are interesting to me, and just learning about them was really eye-opening.”

Woyak explains his choice to major in mathematics revolves around his interest in calculations rather than teaching.

“I liked math, but like most people I wasn’t sure what I could do with it outside of teaching, and the league made me aware of those other math-related careers,” Woyak said.

The league meets on campus three times throughout the academic year to complete three separate examinations. The next competition will be at UWSP in early April.

 

Sophie Stickelmaier

Reporter

sstic520@uwsp.edu

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