Thursday, December 7, 2006

Profile: Beth Schaffer, Captain & Driving Force

As AAMC goes into its sixth year, it has had four captains in the course of its history: Tom Zink (2001-02), Raju Krishnamoorthy (2002-05), Drew Besse (2005-07), and Beth Schaffer (2005-07). (Starting in fall 2005, AAMC had grown to the point where two captains were called for.) The first three names on the list were charter members, whose profiles have already been posted below.

Beth Schaffer, a senior at Guilderland High School, joined AAMC in her freshman year, and quickly became one of AAMC's most enthusiastic and dedicated members. Her infectious enthusiasm and encouragement, her generous willingness to share her knowledge with others, and her energetic outreach and recruiting efforts have contributed greatly to Albany Area Math Circle.

As an AAMC team member, she has participated in HMMT (04, 05, 06) and NYSML (04,05,06), making significant contributions to the team each year. In 2004, she was a member of the fourth place team under Raju's leadership at HMMT, and in 2006, with a much harder competition and larger field of teams, Beth and Drew captained the AAMC team to a 9th place sweepstakes finish at HMMT. In 2005, she was a member of the division-B winning AAMC team at NYSML. In 2006, Beth and Drew captained the AAMC team to a repeat division-B championship (which means the team will compete in the A-division in 2007!) Beth also won an individual high scorer of the meet award at NYSML 2006.

Consistently strong AMC12 scores have qualified Beth for AIME every year since freshman year and she has also been a member of the Upstate NY ARML team in each of the past two years. She won Silver Awards USA Mathematics Talent Search in 2004-05 and 2005-06.

Beth's boundless energy and enthusiasm for math spills over way beyond AAMC. She has coached MathCounts teams throughout her high school career and her teams consistently place high, with many of the students she has coached landing in the Countdown Round at chapter. She has a large and very devoted fan club of younger mathletes. Two years ago, she took the initiative to launch and run Mathematical Explorations, a summer math workshop for middle school students. In 2004 and 2005, Beth attended MathCamp, an amazing summer program. Beth and two friends from the Upstate NY ARML team have recently created {a nonempty set} an on-line math contest designed for middle school problem solvers.

In 2006, Beth was one of 75 top math and science students chosen from all around the country and around the world selected to participate the Center for Excellence in Education's MIT Research Science Institute , the top research program in the country for high school scientists.

Beth is an outstanding example of an AAMC success story and a testimony to the legacy left behind by our charter members.

When Beth first came to AAMC as a freshman taking honors 9th grade math, she found herself in a room full of mostly older students she didn't know, most of them much more experienced in advanced problem-solving, some of them already taking college classes. It was scary and intimidating to ask for help--it's all too easy to worry about whether you are asking a "dumb question." But Beth was brave and undaunted and our charter members were kind and generous with their help. She asked lots of questions--and answering those questions benefited both the veterans and Beth. The vets benefited because explaining math to Beth deepened their own understanding. And Beth obviously benefited too, because now she is one of the senior vets answering questions from the rookies.

UPDATE September 2007: Beth continued her strong of amazing accomplishments during her senior year and earned many honors, including designation as a US Presidential Scholar, which brought her to Washington, DC, where she met both President Bush and Senator Hillary Clinton, as well as other officials. (The photo shows Beth on the left with Sen. Clinton and the other US Presidential Scholars from New York.) Beth is now a student at MIT and a member of Prof. Richard Stanley's Freshman Problem-solving Seminar.


Beth said...

Faithfully said...

Beth! Wow, your're so smart. I don't know anybody in Nebraska who is this smart. Keep it up. You're going to have a great career one day and good luck in college. I am proud of you! :)

Christina said...

Hey Beth:

I am so proud of your accomplishments and enthusiasm. Getting to know you this summer was the best way to spend my time... you are a role model in so many ways! Congratulations on a fantastic career already - I know you will continue to amaze the world from here on out!