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Way to go: Matt Conway, Garden City

Matt Conway, a sophomore at Garden City High School, recently won first place in a new business math competition coordinated by Molloy College that required high-schoolers to write essays about ways in which math can address common problems in business.

Conway's 10-page essay explored the use of options and futures contracts to hedge financial risks for oil companies.

"A length of weeks may elapse between the transport of oil from its origin location to market," said Conway, 15. "During this time, the price can go up from the price the oil was originally at, and, most notably, the price can go down. What oil companies can do is use options and futures to reduce exposure to price fluctuations."

Conway said he researched the oil topic for several weeks last fall by watching news reports on television, searching online and visiting his local library. He received a $1,000 college scholarship to Molloy's business program, should he decide to go there, and a laptop computer.

The second-place winner was Nikhil Patel, also of Garden City High, who conducted a mathematical analysis of the locations of McDonald's restaurants. He won an Apple iPod and a $1,000 scholarship to Molloy's business program.

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