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.

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