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Student Research League (SRL)

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SRL Official Rules

2018 Registration

Past Team Champions

Past Results

Past Competition Questions














Two-year colleges in any of the eight Regions of AMATYC may enter either an individual student or a team of two or three students.  Each college may enter more than one team, but each team must have a different Faculty Mentor.

Each student is eligible to compete if s/he meets the following criteria:

1.  Student is enrolled at the sponsoring institution and is taking courses during the Challenge Problem period. Part-time students are eligible. 

2.  Student has successfully completed a minimum of 12 semester hours (or equivalent quarter hours) of college work by the end of the Challenge Problem period, including courses in progress at the time of the Challenge Problem period which are completely successfully.

2.  Student has not earned a two-year degree (or higher) or if s/he has not achieved junior standing (or higher) at a four-year institution. 

3.  Students in not enrolled in a four-year institution or in high school at the time of the competition.

4.  Student is not a previous grand prize winner either as an individual or on a team.

5.  Student must have knowledge of at least Pre-Calculus math and have access to digital technology.

The SRL Coordinator or AMATYC President shall approve eligibility.

Official transcripts and a letter signed by the student(s) and local Faculty Mentor certifying eligibility will be required in order to receive awards the top three prizes.



To register, Faculty Mentors should visit the AMATYC website at All registrations will be handled electronically. Once all fields are completed and transmitted successfully, your registration will be confirmed by an acknowledgement email from the AMATYC Office. If you register and do not receive an acknowledgement confirmation, you will need to contact the AMATYC Office to be sure your form was transmitted correctly. Registration begins January 1st. Registrations are due by March 15th for that competition year.


The fees are $35 per college (for the first team) and must be received by AMATYC no later than March 15th.  If a college enters multiple teams, there will be an additional fee of $20 per team.  This money is used for prizes and for printing/mailing expenses.  All registration will be handled electronically.  Registration begins January 1st. 

Institutional members as of March 15th will have the fees for one team waived.  Each additional team will require an additional fee of $20 per team.



Faculty Mentors are full-time or adjunct instructors at an eligible institution.

The Faculty Mentor will be responsible for the eligibility of each individual/team student(s).  The Faculty Mentor at each college is responsible for the proper administration of the SRL policy.

In preparation for the competition, Faculty Mentors may work with students to aid them in proper techniques for doing research and for citations. 

The Challenge Problem will arrive by email to the Faculty Mentor named the day prior to the contest.  The Faculty Mentor shall provide the Challenge Problem to the individual/team(s) at midnight on the first day of the Challenge Problem period.

Once the competition begins, the Faculty Mentor may not provide any assistance that directly relates to the solution of the problem including, but not limited to, finding/suggesting sources, providing a mathematical model, and editing the submission,

The Faculty Mentor will be asked to submit an SRL Evaluation to the SRL Evaluation Coordinator by the end of the week following the close of the competition.



1.  Challenge Problem

The Challenge Problem component is an open-ended STEM problem and is at the center of the SRL.  The Challenge Problems will be selected to allow multiple approaches and to take advantage of the full range of student creativity.  Each Challenge Problem will have a scope that admits numerous links with two-year college mathematics.  Sources of the Challenge Problems include fields in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and education, but are not limited to them. 

2.    Problem Research

The Problem Research component will use the Internet as its main investigative avenue for gathering digital information.  Investigative forms from other sources i.e. individual information are encouraged to solve the Challenge Problem.  Each Challenge will be designed to involve the team member(s) in an Internet search to understand the Challenge Problem, collect data on the Challenge Problem, and determine its mathematical characteristics.  All forms of Problem Research are needed to support the following elements: scientific inquiry, experiential learning, and understanding the Challenge Problem, proposing hypotheses, testing hypotheses, and stating the results.

3.    Job/Career Research

The Job/Career Research component is the workforce investigative avenue for gathering background information about STEM occupations.  During the Problem Research about the Challenge Problem, the team will encounter creative and brilliant work that has been done by many people in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics occupations.  Teams will be required to research two STEM individuals who are tied to the field or theme of the Challenge Problem and develop a Case Study showing how these STEM individuals used mathematics in their work on the Challenge Problem.  Each Case Study will use Inquiry-based learning and include the following Job/Career information about the individual occupation: Identify Job/Career, Job Academic Background, Job Environment, Job Average Yearly Pay, Job/Career Outlook, and Similar Jobs/Careers.

4.    Mathematics Tools

The Mathematics Tools component is the main vehicle that will be used throughout the process of modeling a Challenge Problem.  The team will be required to select the Mathematics Tools that best fit the Challenge Problem and use them to understand the problem, create a mathematical model that approximates the data collected, and design a potential solution that can be defended in the team's Thesis Defense.

5     Thesis Defense

Each Challenge Problem is designed to give the members of the team an opportunity to organize what they have learned and express their results in the form of a Thesis Defense.  The Thesis Defense is an organized, coherent synthesis of information based on the Challenge Problem, Problem Research, Job/Career Research, and Mathematics Tools.  The Thesis Defense will use experiential learning and include data collected with reference citations (APA), a mathematical model with a discussion of the mathematical tools used and the rationale for the chosen model, implications and predictions, the design of a possible solution to the Challenge Problem, and recommendations for further research.


The individual/team student(s) will have an assigned Challenge Problem period to complete their Thesis Defense and must submit their SRL five components not to exceed 15 pages* (single spaced, 1" borders, 12 point, Arial font) electronically to the SRL Coordinator, and their Faculty Mentor by the last day of the assigned Challenge Problem period by midnight in their time zone (partial Thesis Defense will be accepted).

Students must also complete the survey regarding their experience and submit it to the SRL Evaluation Coordinator.

*Not including the title or citation page (which must use APA format).


Academic Integrity is a serious matter within the SRL Challenge.  Infractions include, but not limited to, copying the work of individual(s) or oral interviews without proper recognition in the Thesis Defense Reference Citation Section (using APA format) and Thesis Defense is written by anyone other than the individual/team student(s).  An individual/team student(s) may seek counsel from the team's Faculty Mentor regarding SRL Policy, but not seek information about the Challenge Problem solution.  If it is found that an individual/team student(s) has violated the Academic Integrity of the SRL Challenge, their Thesis Defense will not be reviewed and those student(s) will not be allowed to participate in future SRL Challenges.



The administration of the SRL challenge shall comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Any accommodation will be in accordance with the procedures used on the campus where the challenge is administered.



Because the SRL Challenge Problem doesn't require campus activity, campus disaster circumstances will normally not interfere with the solution of the Challenge Problem.  If a disaster circumstance does occur and the individual/team student(s) is unable to complete the Challenge Problem due to the disaster then AMATYC SRL will refund their registration fee with proof of circumstances.



Each AMATYC Region will submit the top three entries from their Region.  A team of STEM professionals will then do the final judging from those entries and determine the top three overall entries.

The SRL Thesis Defense Coordinator will verify and summarize the overall results.  The results of the year's competition are final once printed and distributed.



The grand prize for the qualified team is $3000 to be shared equally among the team member(s).  The prize is to be used to continue his or her education at an accredited four-year institution. 

Additional prize money will be awarded to second and third place teams.

Certificates will be awarded to all students submitting an entry.  In addition, members of the top three teams in each AMATYC Region will receive an official AMATYC SRL t-shirt and their colleges will receive a plaque.

All prizes, plaques, and certificates are sponsored by AMATYC.
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Past, Present & Future: Developmental Mathematics

44th Annual Conference
Orlando, FL
November 15-18, 2018

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