A Rutherford High School graduate is still celebrating the impressive feat of winning the Group 5 Northern Bergen County Math League competition not one, not two, but three consecutive years.
Rian Chowdhury finished his senior year with that accomplishment, something his math teacher might have seen coming.
“Rian is an exceptional math student,” Deborah De Lia said. “There are six challenging questions asked at each meet, and rarely do students answer all six questions correctly. Rian managed to do so several times.”
Ms. De Lia was Rian’s math teacher for three years, and the Math Team advisor for all four of the years that Rian attended the school. She remembers him being the only freshman or sophomore on the team.
The Bergen County Math League is comprised of the top math students from each high school who compete in six meets per year. Competition questions require mathematic mastery in higher-level algebra, geometry, trigonometry and some calculus. “But ultimately, the students’ success lies in the ability to apply this knowledge to problems they have never seen,” Ms. De Lia said. “It is what I always refer to as “thinking out of the box.”
Rian joined the Math Team as a freshman at the suggestion of his geometry teacher, Karen Travellin. “After winning first place my sophomore year, I decided to strive to win during the next two years in order to make my teachers and my school proud,” he said. “During one of the competitions, I actually managed to prove one of the answers in the answer key wrong!”
Rian was leading in points after five competitions when the final event, planned for March 19, was cancelled because of the pandemic. The Math League awarded him the win.
Rian, a Rutherford resident, has been a member of the Rutherford High School Math Team for all four years. He is the son of Reza Chowdhury and Sabbin Chowdhury.
In addition to his academic prowess, Rian is an accomplished musician. He plays many different instruments, including guitar, bass, and piano. He is in a local band named Classifyde, which released its debut EP in March on several streaming platforms. Band members recorded their songs in a home rather than a studio, and Rian produced it using free software. He plans to continue making music as a hobby.
Rian also was involved in community service through the Rutherford High School Interact Club, and was a member of the school’s Robotics Team, National Honor Society, and Chemistry Club.
Rian, 18, will enroll at Stevens Institute of Technology this fall to focus his studies on chemical engineering with a minor in biochemical engineering. His longer-term goal is a doctorate degree in pharmacy.
“I want to create medicines that are able to cure many deadly illnesses, such as cancer,” Rian said. “This interest has been strengthened even more by the COVID-19 pandemic.”