Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

IMSA Student Wins First in U.S. in International Math Competition

By IMSA Mathematics Faculty Member Dr. Vince Matsko

IMSA junior Corrine Madsen won first place nationally at Level 9 in the International Kangaroo Mathematics Competition hosted at the Academy.  More than 5,000,000 students in 40 countries participate, with approximately 2,600 students participating in the United States.

IMSA juniors Govind Govind-Thomas and Corrine Madsen display their medals from the International Kangaroo Mathematics Competition.  Congratulating them are (left to right) Principal Dr. Eric McLaren, Mathematics Faculty Member Dr. Vince Matsko and President Dr. Max McGee.

Dr. Vince Matsko of the Mathematics and Computer Science department brought the Kangaroo Competition to IMSA and congratulated Corrine on her outstanding accomplishment.  "I was thrilled that one of our participants won first place nationally,” Matsko said.  “This was our first year with Kangaroo, and we've done very well," he said.

In addition to Madsen of Downers Grove, junior Govind Govind-Thomas of Schaumburg placed 13th in the nation at Level 9.  In addition, several students from other schools who participated in the competition at IMSA also placed nationally, including Corrine’s sister Danielle who placed 6th at Level 6.

For more information about the contest and competition locations, please visit Kangaroo's US website at

Kangaroo is unique - students from grades 2 through 12 participate, with different exams at different grade levels. The goal is simple: make math fun for students!  Questions are challenging, but accessible enough that students of all abilities can enjoy success at problem-solving.  The $20 registration fee includes a T-shirt, an inscribed pencil, and a certificate. (For examples of problems from the exams, see

How did Kangaroo end up at IMSA?  "A colleague, Robert Geretschlager in Austria, knows Maria Olemanczuk, the national organizer for Kangaroo,” Matsko said. “I met with her last summer, and she was thrilled that I wanted to bring Kangaroo to IMSA."

In addition to hosting the competition, parents of students taking the exam participated in informational meetings about IMSA,  campus tours led by students and math activities  provided by the IMSA Kids Institute for younger siblings and their families.  

"It was great to see those young faces excited about mathematics," said Tracy Miller, program coordinator for statewide student initiatives.

"An event like this doesn't happen by itself," said Matsko.  "Our team worked very well together."

Kangaroo is an important way to get students involved in mathematics at an early age. It is no secret that the United States needs to increase the number of students seeking careers in mathematics, engineering and science. As a result, Matsko hopes to double participation next year. Interested students and parents should contact him at

The internationally recognized Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy® (IMSA) develops creative, ethical leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  As a teaching and learning laboratory created by the State of Illinois, IMSA enrolls academically talented Illinois students (grades 10-12) in its advanced, residential college preparatory program, and it serves thousands of educators and students in Illinois and beyond through innovative instructional programs that foster imagination and inquiry. IMSA also advances education through research, groundbreaking ventures and strategic partnerships. (

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