Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Albany Area Math Circle student speaks at national math circle conference

The National Association of Math Circles recently posted selected videos from their annual national meeting this spring in Houston.

One of their videos features a presentation given by Albany Area Math Circle member Elizabeth Parizh on the social aspects of math circles:

Math Clubs and Their Social Aspect:
A View Inside and Out

Elizabeth Parizh

Many children today are put off from participating in math activities because it is not popular among school kids. I will describe my own experiences as both a coach and a student in such math clubs, and explains what it is like for kids, and especially girls. I find that this is a very important problem that needs to be solved, because these students are America’s future and need to be prepared to help their country prosper. And yes, this does require math.

Elizabeth's talk was very well received, though unfortunately the videographer's microphone was placed to pick up more of the crowd reaction than of Elizabeth's voice (which came through quite clearly in person.) Her slides are available here.

The other talks and activities at the meeting were also excellent and several of the other featured videos are available here.

Elizabeth also assisted Bard College Professor Japheth Wood in leading sessions on the theory of impartial games designed for middle school and high school teachers. They used the game of Nim to illustrate the ideas of game trees, strategy, and concepts such as the addition of games. More details of that activity, including handouts, are available here. Professor Wood leads the Kingston Math Circle to our south--you may also want to check out his blog, News from the Math Wizard.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Albany Area Math Circle representatives at Math Prize for Girls

Congratulations to the four Albany Area Math Circle students who have qualified for invitations to the Math Prize for Girls to be held at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts on September 17. They are all four outstanding representatives of all that is best in our math circle: massive enthusiasm for tackling mathematical challenges and eagerness to share their mathematical knowledge with others in our community.

From left to right above are:

Elizabeth Parizh, a rising junior at Niskayuna High School

Gili Rusak, a rising freshman at Shaker High School

Cecilia Holodak, a rising sophomore at Niskayuna High School.

At lower right is Zhixin (Wanwan) Fei, a rising senior at Emma Willard School.

They are a remarkably talented and experienced group. All four are veterans who also participated in the Math Prize for Girls last year. Elizabeth, Gili, and Cecilia have all participated in MATHCOUNTS, NYSML, ARML, and the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament.

Elizabeth has been student coaching at Iroquois Middle School. She was one of only a few high school students across the country invited to join adult math circle leaders at the annual national meeting of the National Association of Math Circles which took place at the University of Houston this March, where she gave an excellent and very well-received presentation on her experiences both as a student in a math circle and also as a coach of younger students. The audience for her presentation were mostly adult leaders of math circles, many of whom remarked to me afterwards how helpful her perspective was to them. At the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival associated with that meeting, Elizabeth also participated as an apprentice to Bard College Professor Japheth Wood, helping him lead a session on game theory based on the Game of Nim. Elizabeth was an AIME qualifier this year.

Gili was the second highest scoring 8th grader from anywhere in the US or Canada at Math Prize 2010, was among the top 10 in the state at the state MATHCOUNTS championship this year, and was already among our top high school students in 7th and 8th grade on contests such as AIME and HMMT. She plans to student coach younger students next year.

Cecilia also plans to student coach younger students next year. Her many honors include being the first girl in a decade to win the CountDown Round at the Chapter MATHCOUNTS contest and being part of a four person Science Bowl team that placed 7th in the country at the National Science Bowl event in Washington, DC last year.

Wanwan qualified for AIME this year on the AMC12. Last year, she was the highest scorer on the AMC10 of anyone in this area, male or female, and she was also among the five highest scoring girls anywhere in the state on that contest. She is among a group of Emma Willard students who have been discussing launching a math mentoring program for younger girls in the future, an exciting initiative for our area.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Upstate NY ARML team

Congratulations to the Albany Area Math Circle students who represented Upstate New York on the all-star teams at ARML, the national high school math championships held at Penn State this weekend: Matthew Babbitt, Cecilia Holodak, Preston Law, Zubin Mukerjee, Jien Ogawa, Elizabeth Parizh, Paul Rapaport, Schuyler Smith, Felix Sun, and Jay White joined a stellar group of math students from other parts of Upstate New York to do our region proud.

As usual, the problems were extremely challenging--indeed, the veteran members of the problem writing committee cheerfully admit that some of them get zeroes on the contests when taking them for practice as part of the development process!

Special congratulations to Allen Liu, a seventh grader from the Rochester area, who got 9 out of 10 correct on the individual round and ranked 10th in the country after tiebreaks!

Congrats as well to team high scorers Schuyler Smith and Felix Sun, veteran seniors who managed to get 7 out of 10 correct for team high scorer honors.