COOKEVILLE – Muzakhir (Muza) Amanzholov likes to be challenged academically. So much so the recent Tennessee Tech graduate took the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition just for the fun of it.
The result was Muza receiving a score of 30, which is one of the best individual scores ever recorded by a Tech student. With his score, Muza ranked in the top 10 percent nationally among the 4,683 students who took the prestigious test.
“I already participated in this type of competition when I was in high school. I just had an interest to take it. I wanted to know how different the testing is at the college level as opposed to the high school level,” said Muza. “I didn’t prepare much, I just participated. I would like to have done better. I think I did pretty good because math isn’t my focus.”
The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is the preeminent mathematics competition for undergraduate college students in the United States and Canada. The Putnam Competition consists of two 3-hour sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. During each session, participants work individually on six challenging mathematical problems.
“During my career, I have met very few people that have taken the Putnam Exam, let alone ones that scored more than a 4 or a 5 on the exam,” said Jerry Gannod, chair of Tech’s computer science department. “For Muza to score a 30 on a test within his minor degree program speaks to his talent and broad skillset.”
A senior majoring in computer science with a concentration in cybersecurity, Muza has had the opportunity to participate in parallel programming/multithreading research and medical care research. This past year, Muza competed in the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest in which he and his teammates earned a finished second.
“As a student enrolled in our combined BS/MS program, Muza has not only excelled academically as an Honors student, but has also immersed himself in many aspects of campus life,” said Gannod. “His performance on the Putnam Exam is just another example of a long list of accomplishments for this young man.”
Following the graduation ceremonies held May 5, Muza plans to venture to Nashville to begin working with Deloitte LLT. A native of Kazakhstan, he has enjoyed his time at Tech.
“Tennessee Tech has prepared me well for the next phase in my life,” said Muza. “I’m looking forward to what the future holds for me.”