Chris Okorie of Silver Spring, an eighth-grader at Sligo Middle School, is a math whiz.
Chris won first place in the overall math competition at the 2013 National Society of Black Engineers Conference in Charlotte, N.C., from Nov. 8 to 10. Several schools from Montgomery and Prince George counties competed individually and as teams.
This year’s theme was “Engineering and Leadership in Harmony.”
“Math is my favorite subject,” Chris said. “I guess I would say I am pretty good in math. The questions at first were easy and then they started to get harder and harder. I just tried to do the best I could.”
Chris also is a participant in the All-Stars GapBuster program. GapBuster, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering youth through education, established the National Society of Black Engineers junior chapter at Sligo Middle School.
GapBuster took 12 students from Sligo Middle, Blair High School, Wheaton High School, Parkland High School and Roosevelt High School to the conference in Charlotte.
“The reason why we do [this] ... is to expose our students to areas of science and technology ... and it allows them to see what other opportunities are out there,” said Yvette Butler, executive director of GapBuster.
Chris took home two medals for his excellent performance.
“When I walked in the room and they had five- and six-people teams ... and then we had three people. Our supervisor, he had to leave us and go to a different group and we started to get nervous. But then we brought it back,” Chris said.
He and other students will represent their schools at the National Convention in March in Memphis, Tenn.
“We are going to be studying. I am going to study extra hard to make sure I can keep up,” said Chris, who wants a career in mechanical engineering.