Her math involvement carries over into her home. Eleven-year-old Chad,
Stouffer's youngest brother, is enrolled in a gifted program at Larchmont School in their home town. Stouffer has worked with him during the summer and during her school breaks, teaching him high school math and delving into a
college algebra book with him.
"Chad's my experiment, and I teach him all kinds of math stuff," said
Stouffer, the daughter of Carla and Owey Stouffer and a graduate of Lenape Regional High School. "It's like a game to him."
"I always wanted . . . a little sibling," Stouffer said. "Ever since he was born I (have been teaching) him." (Brother Ryan, 19, is safe. He's studying computer science at California University in California, Pa., and is too close in age for Stouffer to teach, she said.)
Chad is not the only person Stouffer is teaching. Since her sophomore year, she has worked for the Learning Resource Center at Rutgers, tutoring fellow students in subjects such as college algebra, business calculus and differential equations.
This year she also started working with the Supplemental Instruction program at Rutgers. For that program, she sits in on classes and then, in another room, works with students on any questions they have about the class.
Rutgers associate math professor Leonard Bidwell said that Stouffer's award was based in part on her average, and that her tutoring was taken into consideration.
"She is very . . . mathematically mature," he said. The founder of the award wanted the prize to go to people in their junior year because he felt math students became more mature, thinking more abstractly, at that time, Bidwell said. The founder, who graduated about 1970, is an actuary for John Hancock Insurance Co. in Massachusetts.
"She's a free thinker, creative," Bidwell added of Stouffer, who is between her junior and senior years.
As for her own schooling, Stouffer said applied math is practical and wide ranging. She has studied electric circuits, mechanics, probability and statistics, physics, and business applications such as economics.
Math, she said, made her smarter. "It sets up your mind . . . to solve things. . . . You really think differently," she said. Stouffer said math had made her approach things more analytically, logically and sequentially.
What it hasn't done is improve her ability to communicate.
Stouffer said she had trouble conversing at a recent party after spending the earlier part of the day working on a take-home test. When she finally warmed up, she started talking about math. Her boyfriend rescued a middle-aged man she was discussing partial differential equations with by taking her away.
Outside of school, she enjoys writing poems. "And they're about math," she said.
She studies 20 to 25 hours a week. "All that hard work finally paid off," she noted.
"If you told any of my math teachers (from high school) I was a math major, they probably wouldn't believe you."
That's in part because she failed one semester in a high school freshman algebra class. Her best subject in high school, Stouffer said, was English.
"I was surprised," she said of the honor at Rutgers. She said one of her professors had mentioned in class that students could express interest in the Felcon prize, but she never did. Bidwell said staff reviewed records of all junior math majors, considering those with an overall GPA of 3.0 or above and a math GPA of 3.5 and above.
Stouffer decided to study math when her father suggested she major in computer science. "My math courses seemed to be more interesting than the programming," she recalled.
Stouffer, who expects to graduate next summer, plans to apply to Drexel University to study applied mathematics with systems analysis. She is not sure what she wants to do immediately after graduate school, but knows she eventually wants to teach college.
Christian Stevenson is perfect.
Well, maybe that will be judged at a later date.
But the score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test he took in October was 1,600, and that is perfect.
Stevenson, a junior at Lenape Regional High School, did what only 30 test- takers out of close to 1.9 million did during the 1992-93 school year (1993-94 figures are not yet available). Tom Ewing, spokesman for the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, said of Stevenson's score: "It is extremely unusual. It's quite an accomplishment for the young man."
The test, which is sponsored by the College Board in New York, an organization of about 2,900 education institutions that use the SATs, rates students on verbal and mathematical capabilities. The average verbal score is 424, and the average math score is 478, said Ewing, who said the ETS designs, administers and grades the SATs and reports scores.
"He's very . . . laid back about the whole thing," said Lynn Galbraith, supervisor of curriculum and community relations for the Lenape school district. "He said he knew he did well."
"We've never had a student who aced both halves of either the PSAT or SAT," Galbraith said.
Stevenson, who is carrying six honors classes this year, has a 4.0 grade point average, according to his guidance counselor, David Lafferty.
"He's an excellent student," Lafferty said. "Not only is he a terrific student, he is a terrific student who has sought" the most difficult six challenges the school offers. "I think he's a great kid. . . . In typical form for Christian, he's very humble about it.
"It is amazing," Lafferty said.
Stevenson said, "I was a little surprised because I never actually expected to get a perfect score, but I knew I had done well when I left the test."
He thought he had scored in the 1,350 to 1,400 range, because he scored consistently in that range on practice tests.
Stevenson is a member of the National Honor Society, vice president of his school's World Affairs Council, treasurer of the German Club, and a member of Lenape and Youth Together and the production staff of the school's literary magazine. He had heard rumors of the achievement Dec. 9, and received the official notice the next day.
"At first I was just shocked, but then I was pretty happy," he said. To celebrate, he had dinner with his father, James, at a Cherry Hill restaurant.
Said his mother, Barbara, noting that her son earned straight A's through junior high school and high school, "I was thrilled. . . . He's always done outstanding work, and I'm glad he's getting some recognition for it."
Stevenson enjoys all of his advanced courses, but isn't sure what the future will hold.
"I don't have my life planned out," said Stevenson, who works weekends at Montesini's, a Mount Laurel restaurant. "I want to go to a good school, maybe Ivy League."
Two areas he is considering working in are law and psychology.
He is hoping for a scholarship. "I'd like to think I can get a good part of my schooling paid for," he said.
His friends and family have been happy about his achievements, Stevenson said, and any "nerd" comments directed at him have come in good humor.
"I really enjoy going to school. They only thing I don't like is some of the time it takes at home (for homework)," he said.