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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

    June 8, 2016

    Missouri Academy student among winners in national math contest

    Ruidi Cao

    Ruidi Cao

    Ruidi Cao, a student at Northwest Missouri State University’s Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing, is one of 12 winners in the 2016 USA Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO).

    Cao, of Changsha, China, and the other winners were selected out of 325 students who competed in this year’s USAMO, which is the pinnacle of high school mathematics contests administered by the Mathematical Association of America’s American Mathematics Competitions program.  

    The winners were honored June 6 at an awards ceremony at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. Attendees included representatives from the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. Jesus Deloera, professor of mathematics at University California-Davis, delivered a keynote address.

    Cao now attends the Math Olympiad Summer Program and is eligible to represent the U.S. at the International Math Olympiad.

    “Ruidi simply loves mathematics, and I’m happy for him that he is rewarded and honored this way,” said Dr. Cleo Samudzi, dean of the Missouri Academy.

    Additionally, Samudzi thanked Northwest mathematics and statistics faculty Dr. Brian Haile and Dr. Mary Shepherd, who worked closely with Cao throughout the academic year. Shepherd also attended the awards ceremony.

    “With his drive to compete and be the best, all I had to do was provide some problems and resources and get out of his way,” Shepherd said. “With each of the tests on the road to being one of the USAMO winners, he got better and better. He studied what he did not know on each test before taking the next test.”

    The Mathematical Association of America is the world’s largest community of mathematicians, students, and enthusiasts. The mission of its American Mathematics Competitions is to increase interest in mathematics and develop problem-solving skills through participation in a fun competition. Teachers and schools benefit from the chance to challenge students with interesting mathematical questions that are aligned with curriculum standards at all levels of difficulty.

    The Missouri Academy was established in 2000 as a two-year residential, early-entrance-to-college program on the Northwest campus. The program replaces the junior and senior year of high school. Academy students enroll in the same classes as traditional students and are held to the same academic expectations while living, socializing and studying in a learning community of peers. Graduates of the Missouri Academy receive an Associate of Science degree along with their high school diplomas. For more information about the Missouri Academy, visit

    For more information, please contact:

    Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

    Northwest Missouri State University
    215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468