Sunday, December 28, 2008

AAMC t-shirts

Speaking of t-shirts, Albany Area Math Circle will be putting in a new order for team t-shirts soon. These shirts are especially good to wear to travel competitions like HMMT and PUMaC, because they enable you and your team-mates to find one another easily in big crowds. And they also look spiffy in team photos celebrating various accomplishments.

For example, here are photos of math circle students celebrating the 3rd place team ranking in the A division in the statewide NYSML finals n New York City in 2007.

It's also a great idea for math circle members to wear their team t-shirts when they are working with younger students, as MATHCOUNTS student coaches or middle school math circle mentors.

HMMT t-shirt design contest

Every year, the organizers of HMMT design t-shirts worn by the scores of Harvard and MIT student volunteers who run the contest. (These t-shirts are also sold, in a different color, to any attendees who wish to purchase them.) The picture above shows the 2008 t-shirt, which had a puzzle on the back.

In 2007, the back of the t-shirt had a mathematical version of the periodic table of the elements. A memorable HMMT t-shirt from 2002 used a famous quotation from Seneca: "Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit ," which translates roughly as "There has been no great mind without a mixture of madness."

I think my favorite HMMT t-shirt of all was the 2003 shirt, which was an athletic style t-shirt that listed the player's name across the back as "Archimedes," and the player's number was given as π.

If you are feeling creative, the organizers of HMMT 2009 (who include AAMC alumna Beth Schaffer!) invite you to submit a design for this year's t-shirt. The winner will receive free t-shirts for his/her entire team of 8 students (not to mention fame, if not fortune!) More information about how to create submit your entry is pasted below:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament <>
Date: Sun, Dec 28, 2008 at 4:15 AM
Subject: [HMMT] HMMT T-Shirt Contest


We are pleased to announce the first annual HMMT T-Shirt Contest. HMMT creates t-shirts each year, and this year we'd like to ask *you* to submit designs. Designs must use at most two colors on each side and must be compatible with two different background colors (one for students, and one for staff). The winning design will be chosen by a panel of the contest directors, and the winner will receive free t-shirts for his/her entire team of 8.

To submit your designs, please email them to us at by January 15. Please submit your design in svg,jpg, eps, png, pdf, or bmp format. Note that a sketch of the design is fine, as you can provide a higher quality image if your design is selected. Keep in mind also that the final design must be sent to the printer in a vector graphics format.

You can seek inspiration among the old designs at We look forward to receiving your designs!

Rishi Gupta, Beth Schaffer, and Yi Sun
HMMT Tournament Directors

Friday, December 5, 2008

Congratulations to our AMC8 contestants

Twenty-seven students from area middle schools and a local homeschool MATHCOUNTS team took part in the Albany Area Math Circle's administration of the AMC8 Contest on November 18. The official results are now in.

Our top three students, who constitute the official Albany Area Math Circle team are: Preston Law from Home Educators Enrichment Group (heeg), with a score of 23, and Zubin Mukerjee of Farnsworth Middle School and Aniket Tolpadi of Iroquois Middle School, who both scored 22. All three students also achieved national recognition on the Honor Roll of Distinction.

Six additional students with scores of 19 to 21 will receive national honors on the AMC Honor Roll: Greg Hickey of Shaker Junior High, Cecilia Holodak of Van Antwerp Middle School, Elizabeth Parizh of Iroquois, Martin Schreiner of Van Antwerp, Flora Mao of Iroquois, and Jien Ogawa of heeg.

Seven students will receive national recognition on the Merit Roll for high-scoring students in sixth grade or below: Martin Schreiner (Van Antwerp), Gili Rusak (Loudonville Elementary), Samir Menon (Iroquois), Isaac Smith (heeg), Kumar Muthukumar (Iroquois), Abigail Trouwborst (heeg), and Philip White (heeg.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Albany Area Math Circle has a new website

Our new website is here. We'll still use this blog for occasional posts, but much of the FAQ-type information in this blog will eventually migrate over there, in a better organized form.

The new website has a complete master calendar of meetings and special events through the year. There's also a special calendar just for competitions and deadlines for signing up for those competitions.

We're using a google-forms interface that's built into google-spreadsheets to make it easier for our wonderful volunteer parents to deal with managing the lists of members who sign up for competitions. I was very pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to set up the forms interface. It has a lot of potential to simplify and streamline the process.

We'll be adding more features in the future. If you are an AAMC member who wants to sign up for the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament, please visit the new site, read the info about HMMT, discuss with your parents, and use the form to sign up ASAP.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving thoughts

In the spirit of the season, I'd like to say thanks to so many who make Albany Area Math Circle possible.

Thanks to all the wonderful students and alumni of the Albany Area Math Circle, who have shared their eureka moments, who have inspired me with their passion and perserverence for pursuing problem solving challenges and sharing your mathematical insights with others! You have renewed my mathematical spirit and you make me feel mathematically young at heart working with you each week.

Thanks to Professor Krishnamoorthy, who has shared my belief and vision for Albany Area Math Circle since its small beginnings in 2001 and who has tirelessly contributed his talents and his energies for the past 8 years to helping that dream become a reality, to grow, and to thrive. I am thrilled and delighted that you have been honored with the MAA Sliffe Award.

Thanks particularly to the parents of the founding members of Albany Area Math Circle, who encouraged and supported our vision from those early days, especially Jenifer Besse, JC Glendinning, and Mitch Levinn. (Especially Mitch, for his three years of countless pizza-bearing trips across vast stretches of the Siberian tundras at RPI!)

Thanks to all past and current Albany Area Math Circle parents, siblings, friends, teachers, and other community members who have nurtured and encouraged our members' love of mathematics!

Thanks especially to the countless Math Circle parents who have contributed in so many ways by driving carpools, helping with contest registration and organizational recordkeeping, proctoring and scoring other teams at travel contests, who have provided advice and support and encouragement over the years.

Thanks in particuar to some very special Math Circle parent volunteers who have followed in the footsteps of the pioneering parents:

Thanks to Mrs. Ardito, who tirelessly searches out and posts problems to work on at weekly meetings, as well as organizing the administration of the physics olympiad contests.

Thanks to both Mr and Mrs. Ardito and to Mr. and Dr. Bieber, who have managed registration details for many travel contests, driven carpools, and pitched in countless other ways as well, including chaperoning.

Thanks to Mrs. Schaffer, who managed AAMC recordkeeping and finances as registrar for two years. (And thanks to AAMC captain Beth Schaffer for all her help with that endeavor.)

Thanks to Mr. Babbitt, who wears countless "hats," has helped in countless ways at virtually every meeting for the past two years, managing so many organizational details and enabling Math Circle to grow and thrive and expand to include more outreach to younger students. I have nominated Mr. Babbitt for special recognition for his work, and I hope to have an announcement later this year.

Thanks to Professor Rita Biswas for her willingness to help manage the registration for our Harvard-MIT Math Tournament entry this year.

Thanks to the Art of Problem Solving Foundation, for setting up an earmarked account to which math circle supporters can make tax-deductible donations! Thanks again to Mr. Babbitt for managing the paperwork and processing of those donations. And thanks to all the parents and other friends of math circle who have donated to that fund.

More generally, thanks to the entire Art of Problem Solving enterprise for their excellent contributions to developing problem-solving skills around the country and the entire world. Many of Albany Area Math Circle's veterans have benefited from AoPS free discussion forums as well as their books, classes, and now their new free Alcumus project.

Thanks to all the volunteer problem writers and committee members who contribute such interesting problems to contests like AMC, AIME, ARML, HMMT, NYSML, PUMaC, and USAMO, and who contribute in countless other ways to making those programs possible.

Thanks to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, for hosting all our meetings for the first five years of Albany Area Math Circle, and for continuing to host occasional meeting when Niskayuna Schools are on vacation break. Thanks also to Siena College for hosting a few meetings as well during the 2006-2007 year. And to Siena Professor Alicia Todaro for arranging that for us.

Thanks to Niskayuna Community Education for providing an excellent large meeting space for our regular Friday meetings since fall 2006.

And thanks to Ms. Victoria Holley, director of Niskayuna Community Education, for her help in making arrangements for our meetings.

Thanks to Calvary Church in Schenectady for hosting so many AMC8 and AMC12 contests over the years. Thanks as well as Brunswick Church, the Clifton Park Library, Colonie Christian Life Center, the Emma Willard School, the First Unitarian Society of Schenectady, GE Global Research, the Kenney Community Center, the Niskayuna branch of the Schenectady Public Library, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Schenectady County Community College, Siena College, Skidmore College, Union College, the University at Albany, and Williams College, which have all hosted math circle students for one or more math competitions and/or other math special events over the years.

Thanks especially to those veteran Math Circle members and alumni who are "paying it forward" by mentoring and coaching younger students in turn, in so many different ways, by volunteering as MATHCOUNTS coaches, as middle school Math Circle mentors, or simply as welcoming and encouraging veterans helping out new rookies on Friday nights.

When I see one math circle student helping a new member or a younger student in a middle school program, you fill my heart to bursting with pride!

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!

Mary O'Keeffe
Albany Area Math Circle advisor

P.S. Thanks to my family--my husband, my daughters, and my parents for all their love, inspiration, patience, and support for everything I do, including Albany Area Math Circle.

Paying it forward--coaching MATHCOUNTS

Many of our alumni and current veteran members have been "paying it forward" by coaching local MATHCOUNTS teams. Mentoring younger students can be rewarding and fun. Moreover, explaining math to others deepens your own understanding and mastery of the concepts you are explaining.

Pictured at left is Felix Sun, an Albany Area Math Circle veteran and a former National MATHCOUNTS finalist, during a break from practicing with the 2007 New York State team. Felix is now working with fellow Math Circle veteran Eric Wang to coach MATHCOUNTS students in Shenandahoah school district.

Dave Bieber, another Math Circle veteran and former National MATHCOUNTS finalist, is coaching at Van Antwerp Middle School. Last year, Van Antwerp students benefited from coaching by Math Circle veteran Qianyi ("Landy") Zhang assisted by Jason Xu. The year before, Van Antwerp students got coaching from Math Circle veterans Eugenia Gisin and Anjana Tayi.

Raju Krishnamoorthy, a founding member of Albany Area Math Circle as well as a National MATHCOUNTS finalist, helped his former coach, Mrs. Nancy Smith. coach teams at Doyle Middle School in Troy.

Math Circle member Anagha Tolpadi is coaching MATHCOUNTS again at Iroquois Middle School this year. Other Math Circle members and alumni who've coached at Iroquois include Markus Salasoo and Alison Miller.

The heegMATHCOUNTS group has had the benefit of many Albany Area Math Circle student coaches over the years. Current student coaches include Matthew Babbitt, Schuyler Smith, Leah and Luke Trouwborst, Jay and Lindsay White, and Zagreb Mukerjee. Past AAMC student coaches have included Drew Besse, James Dick, Stephen Krewson, Catherine Miller, and Beth Schaffer. (Beth also coached Farnsworth Middle School's team in earlier years.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Paying it forward--middle school math circles

Our veteran high school math circle members have benefited from the mentorship, support, advice, and coaching of math circle alumni when they were younger. Now, in turn, many of our current members are "paying it forward" in the finest tradition by working with younger students in a variety of ways. A number of our math circle members are serving as student coaches of local MATHCOUNTS teams. Dave Bieber and Markus Salasoo designed and ran a summer math camp for local middle school students. And other members are working on a new math circle initiative: running "middle school math circles."

Math circle veterans Zagreb Mukerjee and Matthew Babbitt have been working with Mr. Babbitt to start up a "middle school math circle" which meets weekly in Clifton Park. Math circle veterans Andrew Ardito, Liz Simon, and Jason Xu are planning to start up a second middle school math circle which will begin meeting in another location later this year.

Math Circle students run summer math camp for middle school students

This past summer, Albany Area Math Circle veterans Dave Bieber and Markus Salasoo, upperclassmen at Niskayuna High School, designed and ran their own math camp for middle school students in Niskayuna, under the auspices of Niskayuna Community Education.

I asked Dave to write up a description of their experiences to share with other students who might want to do a similar project in the future:

This summer Markus Salasoo and I ran a math camp for middle school students. A dozen really enthusiastic kids registered, and we all had a great time. Each day we explored a different area of mathematics through games, puzzles, and contest problems. Topics included probability, combinatorics, algebra, and geometry.

Each day began with Continuo, a game of teamwork and pattern recognition. This was followed by a lesson on the day's topic, and a number of activities to emphasize the uses of the mathematics taught. Then, following a brief snack break, we did contest math problems in the forms of relays, countdown rounds, and Buzz competitions. Students worked together and individually to solve problems of varying difficulty relating to the math topic of the day. We explored the possibilities of the famous hand shaking problem, both mathematically and as an ice breaker. We solved Monte Hall experimentally, and learned more about probability through the Greedy Pig game and by playing with M&Ms. To accompany other topics, we played modified versions of 24 and Buzz. These games kept everyone engaged and made for a great experience. The students were friendly and seemed to enjoy the camp.

Certainly I hope that the students learned as much as I did from this camp. Preparing lessons and accompanying problems was a great experience, as was teaching the class and working one-on-one with these students. Over the years mentors and coaches have given me opportunities to have fun learning math with others who enjoy it as much as myself. I hope I was able to pass on the gift of the love of learning math.

Thanks to Dave's and Markus' parents, who took turns serving as adult chaperones in order to make the camp possible.

It sounds like a great experience in problem-solving and leadership. Dave is now coaching the Van Antwerp Middle School MATHCOUNTS team.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Excellent new resource for problem solving

The Art of Problem Solving website has an excellent new resource available called Alcumus. (If you're curious about the name Alcumus, it comes from Greek mythology. Alcumus was the father of Mentor.)

It is currently available for FREE on the Art of Problem Solving website.

Alcumus could also be an excellent resource for newer math circle students who have not had the benefit of much prior exposure to topics like combinatorics. If you are thinking about going to the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament this year, the Alcumus tutorial could be a great way to get help on some of the trickier topics in combinatorics.

Alcumus has a large supply of excellent problems with detailed solution explanations, and the problem selection system is "adaptive," which means that Alcumus will select appropriate problems for a student based on the ones they've gotten correct and incorrect so far.

After you've successfully solved 60 problems, you can get access to the best problem solving teaching videos I've ever seen!

I highly recommend this resource. If you are a veteran who is coaching younger students, you can learn a lot about good ways to present problem solving skills by watching the videos.

If you are a rookie and your background in problem solving has gaps in certain areas, Alcumus can help you identify those areas and work on them.

If you have very bright and curious younger siblings or friends in middle school who want a self-paced adaptive system to develop their problem-solving skills, this is also a great resource for them.

If you are a coach for younger students, there is even a way that you can easily monitor the progress of your students as they work through the problems. It will help you identify areas that are especially tricky for you students, so you can work on those at practices.

Right now, the site is primarily focusing on combinatorics. More topics will be added later.

As I said, it is currently available for free. Students who want to use will need to establish a free user account on the Art of Problem Solving (AoPS) website.

More details are here:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Congratulations Professor Moorthy!

The Mathematical Association of America has honored Albany Area Math Circle advisor Professor Mukkai Krishnamoorthy of RPI with the Edyth May Sliffe Award for Distinguished Mathematics Teaching.

Prof. Moorthy was nominated for the award by students on Albany Area Math Circle's AMC12 team, which scored among the top 25 teams in the country in 2008. AAMC team members were: Andrew Ardito, Matthew Babbitt, David Bieber, Schuyler Smith, and Qianyi ("Landy") Zhang.

Here is the text of their nomination for Professor Moorthy:

Professor Moorthy has been with the Albany Area Math Circle since its start in 2001. He generously volunteers 3 hours of his time every Friday night, giving expert guidance to the members of the math circle. He explains solutions with amazing clarity, and has seemingly endless patience. He will often give students problems of his own composition. These problems are always interesting, and lead to a greater understanding of the concepts involved. In short, Professor Moorthy has played an integral role in making the Albany Area Math Circle as successful and rewarding as it is, and we are all deeply indebted to him. Because saying thank you doesn‘t come close to repaying him for all his contributions, we nominate Professor Mukkai Krishanmoorthy for the Edyth May Sliffe Award.

Matt, Dave, Professor Krishnamoorthy, Schuyler, and Andrew
(not pictured: Qianyi "Landy")

Frequently asked questions about AAMC

(Updated August 2021)

What is Albany Area Math Circle?

Albany Area Math Circle (AAMC) is a group of high school students from all over the Capital District who meet for two hours biweekly on Sunday afternoons from 4 to 6 p.m. to collaborate on exciting and challenging math problems together. 

You might call it “Extreme Math.” The problems are “outside-the-box.” Students need to come with enthusiasm for working hard and cheerfully making mistakes (which are inevitable—everyone makes them, even the veterans who have been part of the circle for many years. The adults advising the group cheerfully admit that they make mistakes as well—it is part of the fun of the experience.) The key is for all members of the circle to share their half-baked approaches and ideas and discover that the whole really is more than the sum of the parts. The essence of the fun is a “Shared Aha! Experience” when several students finally crack a problem together.

Who is eligible to join AAMC?

High school students from all around the Capital District are welcome to become part of our community. There is no qualifying test for high school students. You will need to register by joining our email list before your first meeting. (See instructions below for how to do this.)

The only requirements for a high school student member are enthusiasm for working hard and cheerfully on challenging math problems, a willingness to make mistakes, to celebrate your mistakes and learn from them, to share both cool insights and half-baked solution approaches with other students.

We expect all members of AAMC to work with one another in a generous, kind, and helpful spirit. We expect all students to behave in a way that will contribute to an enthusiastic and productive learning community.

Are younger students eligible to join AAMC before ninth grade?

The problems we work on at AAMC at our regular Sunday meetings are very challenging, even for advanced high school students already taking college courses. Furthermore, our meetings are two hours long, which is a long time to work on hard math problems!

However, AAMC's high school students provide many outreach efforts for younger students who enjoy math challenges.

We encourage our high school student members to serve as assistant coaches in MATHCOUNTS programs at nearby middle schools. Over the years, AAMC members have enjoyed serving as student coaches for MATHCOUNTS programs at Acadia, Doyle, Farnsworth, Gowana, HEEG, Iroquois, Koda, and Van Antwerp Middle Schools. If your middle school would like a student coach to assist the teacher or other adult sponsor coach, AAMC would be happy to assist in recruiting one.

Some of our high school student members serve as coaches of satellite middle school math circles.

We encourage local schools to offer the AMC contests, starting with the AMC8 for students in eighth grade and below, which is offered in November. Middle school students who achieve Honor Roll scores on the AMC8 are encouraged to take the AMC10 or AMC12 contests in February. These high school contests are extremely challenging, but they can be good learning experiences for a few younger students who are ready to take the next step beyond middle school math contests. Students who score high on the AMC10 or AMC12 contests may qualify for the American Invitational Math Exam (AIME) given in March.

With the exception of our special outreach activities described above, our regular AAMC meetings are organized for high school student members. Very rarely, middle school students who have qualified for the AIME may also be invited to join our regular meetings. This is very much the exception, rather than the rule, and younger students should not be discouraged if they find the AMC preliminary exams extremely challenging. Some of our strongest high school members only qualified for AIME after several years of trying.

There are many excellent math enrichment resources available for younger students at libraries, bookstores, and on the Internet.

Do AAMC members participate in any math contests?

Yes, AAMC students have joined together to form teams that have competed in a number of math contests over the past five years. AAMC teams have done very well, but you should know that participating in math contests is strictly optional for AAMC members. We realize that official competitions are not everyone's cup of tea. There is no requirement to participate in official math contests and students who just want to join in the fun of working hard on challenging problems at our meetings are very welcome!

One important note: if your school has its own team for a particular competition, you should compete on your school's team for that particular contest, NOT on AAMC's team. We want to support those schools that choose to field their own teams.

How do I sign up for the AlbanyAreaMathCircle email list?

Step 1) High school students and parents should go to and request to join the group.   If you have difficulties in signing up, please email AAMC Advisor Alexandra Schmidt at for troubleshooting assistance.

Please send a separate message originating from each email address where you would like to receive math circle emails.  So, for example, if Sarah and both of her parents all want to subscribe to our email list, they should each send an email to the above address from their respective emails.  The body text of your email can just briefly state your name, school, and grade (or your student's name school and grade) so we can recognize you as a math circle member or parent and approve your subscription.

Once you are approved for subscription, you will automatically get information about problems to print out and bring to meetings, how to sign up for math contests with us, and many other important details!

Step 2) Please use the form at this link to give us all the essential contact information for your student.

Where and when do you meet?

This year, we are again meeting on Sundays afternoons from 4 to 6 p.m. in Troy.  Members who join our googlegroups email list will get information about the exact location and parking/entrance directions. 

Who are the AAMC advisors?

The founding AAMC Advisors are Mary O'Keeffe and Mukkai Krishnamoorthy. They have served as volunteer advisors to the group since its founding in 2001. Here is some brief biographical information about each of them.

Mary O'Keeffe has been an advisor to AAMC since it started in 2001. She teaches public finance at Union College, including a service-learning course in which economics students run a free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site, preparing tax returns for low income working families and senior citizens at Union's Kenney Community Center. She is also a consultant at Miller Risk Advisors. Her background includes an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Bryn Mawr College summa cum laude and a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard, where her special fields were public finance and mathematical economics. In the past, she has taught at Harvard College, University of Houston, Caltech, Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Harvard Law School. She was honored to receive the Manuel Carballo Award for Excellence in Teaching and Public Service awarded by the graduating class from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She has volunteered as an enrichment mentor at several public schools in Schenectady and Niskayuna. She has coached MathCounts teams at Iroquois as well as homeschool MathCounts teams. In 2004, she was honored to receive the Mathematical Association of America's Sliffe Award for Distinguished High School Mathematics Teaching in recognition of the outstanding performance of Albany Area Math Circle students on the AMC12.

Mukkai Krishanmoorthy (fondly known as "Professor Moorthy" by our AAMC students) has also been an advisor to AAMC since it started in 2001. Prof. Moorthy received his Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology and he teaches computer science at RPI. In addition to his classroom teaching and research, he has coached RPI's computer science competition team. For almost a decade, he has also helped Mrs. Nancy Smith coach MathCounts at Doyle Middle School in a number of years, particularly in 2001 when Doyle sent two students to Nationals! In 2008, he received the Mathematical Association of America's Sliffe Award for Distinguished High School Mathematics Teaching in recognition of the outstanding performance of Albany Area Math Circle students on the AMC12.

Prof. Moorthy's website is here. Prof. Moorthy has truly remarkable talents in problem-solving, which he has generously shared with our Math Circle. He also has noteworthy talents in other areas including the ability to recite 139 digits of pi while juggling three balls. You can watch videos of this impressive feat on-line.

We have been fortunate to have several awesome co-advisors join us since then, including Dr. Bill Babbitt and Alexandra Schmidt.  You can read more about them here and here.

Is there a cost to joining AAMC?

We are an all-volunteer organization and we do all we can to keep costs minimal.

We also try to keep costs down at travel contests. Entry fees are generally moderate ($10 per student is typical.)  advisors coordinate information so parents can make arrangements with one another to carpool to distant contests. Some contests can be done as day trips to hold down overnight lodging costs. Other contests are held on college campuses and, with advance notice, it is sometimes possible for students to stay with college student hosts in the dorms at minimal cost. In most years, the statewide NYSML tournament arranges host families who are willing to accommodate students traveling from a distance. (Last year's lodging arrangements for NYSML were very unusual, due to the NYC location.)

Where do AAMC members live?

Albany Area Math Circle brings together students from a wide variety of communities. Our membership has changed year to year. Students and alumni have hailed from all over the Capital District including the following communities:
    • Albany
    • Averill Park
    • Ballston Lake
    • Bethlehem
    • Clifton Park
    • Coxsackie
    • Cropseyville
    • Delmar
    • Fort Edward
    • Guilderland
    • Latham
    • Niskayuna
    • Saratoga Springs
    • Scotia-Glenville
    • Schenectady
    • Troy
    • Watervliet
AAMC members have come from the following schools: Albany High School, Averill Park High School, Bethlehem High School, Coxsackie High School, Guilderland High School, Niskayuna High School, Schenectady High School, Scotia-Glenville High School, Shaker High School, Shenendahoah High School, and Troy High School. We also have homeschool students and students from the Albany Academies, Doane Stuart, and Emma Willard.

We are happy to build bridges of collaboration among students who might not otherwise have an opportunity to work together.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Summer Programs attended by Math Circle students and alums

There are many terrific summer programs that may interest math circle students. Most are at least partly subsidized by grants and/or offer need-based financial aid. A few are free.

The Art of Problem Solving website maintains an extensive list of excellent math summer programs around the country. Here is a link to an excellent panel discussion in which the speakers included leaders of Canada/USA MathCamp, Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics, Math Olympiad Summer Program, PROMYS, Ross, and Stanford University Mathematics Camp.

Albany Area Math Circle members have attended many of these programs, and you may want to talk to one of the students or alumni listed below about their experiences if you are considering applying to one of them.

AwesomeMath Summer Program (Dallas TX/Santa Cruz CA/Ithaca NY)Andrew Ardito (2006), Matthew Babbitt (2008-2009, 2011), Paul Rapoport (2008), Gili Rusak (2012), Alison Miller (staffmember 2007)

Canada/USA Mathcamp (Location moves each summer)Drew Besse (2003-2007), Beth Schaffer (2004), Alison Miller (staff 2009-1010)

Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics (HCSSiM Hampshire College, Amherst, MA)
Liz Simon (2008)

Idea Math Zubin Mukerjee (2010), Cecilia Holodak (2011), Gili Rusak (2011)

MathPath (Location moves each summer) Drew Besse (2002), Andrew Ardito (2005)

Math Olympiad Summer Program (Lincoln, Nebraska)

Alison Miller (2000-2004, staffmember in 2007-2012), David Rolnick (2006, 2008), Andrew Ardito (2007), Matthew Babbitt (2010)

Mathematics Triple (Amherst, MA)  Cecilia Holodak

MIT Women's Technology Program (Cambridge, MA) Nicole Bieber (2005, staffmember in 2007)

Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS, Boston MA)
Manisha Padi (2002), Ashley Cho (2008), Andrew Ardito (2008-2009;staff member 2010-2011), Zubin Mukerjee (2011-2012)

Research Science Institute (MIT, Cambridge, MA) (Math and science research program) Beth Schaffer (2006), David Rolnick (2007), Matthew Babbitt (2012)

Ross Summer Program in Mathematics Brady Pelkey (2011)

Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC) Katherine Brainard (2002)

Telluride Association Summer Program (Ithaca, NY; Ann Arbor, MI; Austin, TX)
(Humanities program) James Dick (2005), Zagreb Mukerjee (2008), Beatrice Malsky (2010)

The University of Iowa Secondary Student Training Program (SSTP) Noah Rubin (2010)

Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics (Rutgers University, NJ) Peixuan Guo (2009)

Math Circle alums--where are they now?

As Albany Area Math Circle enters its ninth year, it's always great to hear news from our growing numbers of alumni. We are always happy to have our alumni join our meetings whenever they are visiting the Albany area on vacation or college breaks. The alumni pictured in the photo above are founding members Ben Levinn, Raju Krishnamoorthy, and Alison Miller, joining a meeting during their college winter break in 2006.

Some have now graduated from college and gone on to the working world or grad school, and several dozen are now in a growing variety of great colleges. Not surprisingly, many are studying math or computer science, but we also have alumni majoring or minoring in biology, chemistry, economics, music, and physics, and more.

It's also inspiring to see the variety of extracurricular interests our math circle alumni have been pursuing--from working on student newspapers to a capella singing to mystery puzzle hunts to Ultimate Frisbee. It's especially gratifying to see how many of our math circle alumni have found time to do some kind of service mentoring younger students in one way or another during their college years. Scroll down for reports of what our alumni have been doing since high school graduation.

AAMC founding member and captain Tom Zink graduated summa cum laude from RPI with a dual B.S. in math & computer science and a minor in economics in 2006, followed by an MS in computer science in 2007. He was on RPI's Putnam team and also coached the Upstate NY ARML team from 2003 through 2008. Tom worked on nanotechnology research at Benet Labs, and also taught at RPI and HVCC during his student years. He's now working as a software quality engineer at MicroStrategy in McLean, Virginia.

Founding member Katherine Brainard graduated from Stanford University in 2007 with a bachelor's in math & computer science and her MS in computer science. During her college years, she was a member of Stanford's equestrian team, coached high school debaters near Palo Alto, and spent two summers working as a Microsoft intern. Stanford's School of Engineering selected her as a Siebel Scholar, a $25,000 national fellowship reserved for the top five graduate students on the basis of outstanding academic performance and demonstrated qualities of leadership at 10 leading schools of computer science. Katherine is now working as a software engineer at Palantir Technologies, a Silicon Valley startup.

Founding member Ben Levinn is a graduate student in computer science in RPI's accelerated PhD program. Ben has worked as a teaching assistant and research assistant and held leadership roles at RPI's national community service organization, Alpha Phi Omega. Ben was inducted into Phalanx, RPI's top honor society for undergraduates and graduate students. Ben's induction was all the more noteworthy, because he was "tapped" at the earliest possible point, the end of his sophomore year. This past summer, Ben completed a three-month Microsoft internship in software engineering in Seattle. Ben is also editor-in-chief of RPI's student newspaper, The Poly, which is celebrating 125 years of publication and service to the RPI community this fall. He is coaching Emma Willard School's math team as well. Update summer 2009: Ben has now started working at Microsoft full-time.

Founding member Alison Miller graduated from Harvard in June 2008 magna cum laude with highest honors in mathematics and with a secondary concentration in medieval studies.  She was one of Harvard's high scorers on the Putnam exam during all four years of college, and was on their first place Putnam teams in 2005 and 2007 and their second place team in 2006, with individual ranks of 10th, 8th, 14th, and 14th places in 2004-2007.  She won a Hoopes Prize for her senior thesis, and was a co-winner of the Association for Women in Mathematics Alice Schafer Prize in 2008.  She is pursuing the Part III Math Tripos at Cambridge University thanks to the generous support of a Churchill Scholarship this coming year. In 2009, she will begin studies for a PhD in math at Princeton University. She has continued to work with younger students during the past four years, serving as a mentor at Girls' Angle in Cambridge, working on the staff of the Math Olympiad Summer Program, coaching the US teams for the 2007 and 2008 China Girls Math Olympiad. She also worked as a course assistant for several undergraduate classes. She participated in summer REU's (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) at Duluth and Madison.

AAMC founding member and former captain Raju Krishnamoorthy is entering his senior year as a math and computer science major at MIT. This past summer, Raju conducted NSF-funded research in number theory at the Trinity University REU. He and Princeton undergraduate Anton Malyshev co-authored a paper describing their results, Sharp Upper Bounds for the Class Number of CM Number Fields. Summer 2009 Update: Raju has graduated from MIT last December and will pursue doctoral studies in math at Columbia next year.

Nicole Bieber is entering her junior year as a computer science major at MIT, where she is an undergraduate peer academic advisor this coming year. At MIT, she sings in Techiya, an a capella group, and is active in Sport Tae Kwon Do. In summer 2007, she worked as a computer science tutor in MIT's Women's Technology Program. She was also a student coach for the Upstate NY ARML team and has volunteered as a staffmember for the Harvard MIT Math Tournament. She spent summer 2008 in Seattle as a Microsoft intern and will intern at Google in summer 2009. Update June 2010: Nicole finished her undergraduate work last winter and is staying on at MIT for a master's degree in computer science. Update June 2011: Nicole finished her masters in December and is now working at Wireless Generation.

Founding member Manisha Padi is also entering her junior year. She is a member of the Research Laboratory of Electronics' Ab Initio Physics Group and is also a staff reporter and columnist for the MIT student newspaper The Tech. Update June 2010: Manisha is graduating as a Burchard Scholar in economics and mathematics.

Robin Meyers is a junior at Dartmouth. He is a star member of Dartmouth's Ultimate Frisbee team and contributed to their record-breaking all-time best season this past year, culminating at the national tournament. Robin worked on a Dartmouth professor's research project for NASA. As part of his work on that project, Robin designed instrumentation that will be launched into high-altitude balloons to take measurements from the upper atmosphere. You can read more about Robin's work here.

Former AAMC captain Beth Schaffer is entering her sophomore year at MIT. As a freshman, Beth quickly assumed a leadership role in MIT's popular student-run educational outreach program, ESP (Educational Studies Program) taking on roles as the ESP webmaster and program director. Beth teaches and directs enrichment courses in HSSP (MIT's weekly program for Boston area high school students) and at MIT's Splash (an annual event which attracts middle school and high school students from all over the country.) After serving as HMMT webmistress and staffer last year, Beth is one of the three Tournament Directors for the 2009 Harvard-MIT Math Tournament. She's also a mentor for Girls' Angle. Beth arranged MIT students hosts for several math circle members at HMMT, and we welcomed her help at our math circle meetings whenever she was home on break this year. After helping to coach the state champion MATHCOUNTS team in 2007, she was a student coach for the Upstate NY ARML team in 2008.

AAMC founding member and former captain Drew Besse is a sophomore computer science major at Carnegie Mellon. He continues his puzzle-hunting passion as an officer of a Carnegie-Mellon student group. He was also a student coach for the 2008 Upstate NY ARML team, and we welcomed his help at math circle during his college breaks. He's shown here with the cowboy hat he received in recognition of his help preparing the first place New York State MATHCOUNTS team for their trip to the 2007 national contest in Dallas. Update June 2010: Drew is interning at Facebook this summer. Update June 2011: Drew graduated from Carnegie Mellon and is working at Microsoft.

Current math circle members would enjoy hearing other news from math circle alumni in the future, so please email us with updates in the future. Meanwhile, here is a census of colleges and universities attended by math circle graduates. We'll update this post annually as our students decide where to venture next.

Bryn Mawr College: Catherine Miller

Carnegie Mellon University: Drew Besse, Anjana Tayi, Jon Fijal

Cedarville University: Jay White

Columbia University: Raju Krishnamoorthy (PhD program in math), Peixuan Guo

Cornell University: Markus Salasoo, Yipu Wang, Anagha Tolpadi, Eric Wang, Peggy Hsu

Dartmouth College: Robin Meyers, Denise Zong

Harvard College: Alison Miller, Prateek Kumar, Zagreb Mukerjee

Harvey Mudd College: Susanna Todaro, Cecilia Holodak

MIT: Katherine Hartman, Raju Krishnamoorthy, Nicole Bieber, Manisha Padi, Gary Cao, Eugenia Gisin, Beth Schaffer, David Rolnick, Liz Simon, Ryan Cheu, Ashley Cho, Gurtej Kanwar, Felix Sun, Matt Babbitt, Sherry He, Phil Sun

Penn State College of Medicine:  Eugenia Gisin (MD program)

Philadelphia Biblical University: Lindsay White

Princeton University: Alison Miller (PhD program in math); Andrew Ardito, David Bieber, Paul Rapaport

: Warren Hayashi, Tom Zink, Ben Levinn, Qianyi ("Landy) Zhang, Bobby Martino

SCCC:  Catherine Miller, Richard Reitz

Stanford University: Katherine Brainard, Schuyler Smith, Wyatt Smith, Samir Menon, Gili Rusak

SUNY Buffalo
: Nan Shan

SUNY Geneseo: Wilson Cheung

University of Cambridge (UK)
: Alison Miller (Part III Tripos)

University of Chicago: Bea Malsky, Brady Pelkey, Isaac Malsky

University of Miami (FL): Anthony Ardito

University of Pennsylvania: Stephen Krewson, Noah Rubin

Washington & Lee University: James Dick

Wellesley College:  Wanwan Fei

Williams College: Heidi Chen

Yale University: Melissa Wu, Rachel Rudinger, Stephen Krewson (PhD program in English), Zubin Mukerjee, Manisha Padi (JD/PhD joint program Yale Law/MIT)