Monday, September 1, 2008

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)

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