active teaching with sarah-marie

Dramatis Personae

Who are the people that make MathILy happen?

Mostly it's students (perhaps you?), but there are also instructors (former instructors here, and for current instructors see just a bit below).
We are assisted by the members of our Advisory Amalgam.
The program itself is a project of the nonprofit organization Mathematical Staircase, Inc. which has a board of directors.

Here is the 2022 lineup:

dr. sarah-marie belcastro, MathILy director and Lead Instructor ()
sarah-marie earned her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1997 after majoring in mathematics and astronomy at Haverford College. Among her research areas, she is most passionate about topological graph theory. sarah-marie has been faculty at several institutions, ranging from small colleges to large universities, and she's been a major believer in discovery-based learning since her teacher training at Michigan. In addition to teaching at the college level, sarah-marie teaches enrichment classes at the Art of Problem Solving. sarah-marie taught as a senior staff member at the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics for 11 summers and co-directed that program for 4 summers. In summer 2012, she created and taught Mathematics Triple classes for UMass-Amherst; she is the inaugural director of MathILy and has taught there since 2013. She wrote the introductory textbook Discrete Mathematics with Ducks, which has much of the same tone students will find at MathILy. Outside of a global pandemic, you might run into sarah-marie at HMMT or ARML (Penn State).


Dr. Daniel Studenmund, Lead Instructor
Daniel earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2014, held postdoctoral positions at the University of Utah and the University of Notre Dame, and now is an Assistant Professor at Binghamton University. He has enjoyed teaching at the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics and MathILy, since math class is the second best way to experience the particular charms of summer on a college campus.

Dr. Hannah Alpert, Lead Instructor
Hannah earned her Ph.D. from MIT in 2016 and is now a tenure-track faculty member at Auburn University. She is currently working in geometry and authored/co-authored 6 mathematical research papers before starting graduate school. Hannah has taught at MathPath and at Mathcamp and at the Boston Math Circle and at every instance of MathILy; she used to describe her preferred mode of teaching as 'chaos,' but has since edited that description to 'real-time feedback,' realizing that actually she hates chaos.


Dr. Thomas Hull, Lead Instructor
Tom earned his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1997 and specializes in the mathematics of origami, which has applications ranging from solar panels to automobile airbags to self-assembling polymers. He has earned tenure at one college and one university (so far) and has used more and more inquiry-based learning in college classes as he has advanced in his career. Tom taught at the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics for 15 summers, and at MathILys 2013--21.

Dr. Brian Freidin, Lead Instructor
Brian earned his Ph.D. from Brown University studying differential geometry and is now a faculty member at Auburn University. He did research as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois through the Geometry Lab and the Center for Complex Systems Research. He has taught at the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics and MathILys 2015--2021.


Nadav Kohen, Apprentice Instructor
Nadav graduated from the University of Iowa with a double major in mathematics and computer science. He's now a graduate student at Indiana University after a stint as a software engineer. When he has free time, he often spends it thinking about graphs, games, topology, algebra or cryptography. When he has free time with a computer, he often writes computer proofs or studies models for computation. When he has free time and needs to move, he enjoys fencing, ultimate frisbee and getting lost in forests. He participated in MathILy in 2015 and was an Apprentice Instructor in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

David Gonzalez, Apprentice Instructor
David studied mathematics at Stanford University and is now a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley. He enjoys talking and thinking about the foundations of mathematics, logic, language and computation. A big step in his mathematical journey was attending MathILy in 2014. When not doing math, he enjoys hiking (really being outside in general) and watching the very worst movies in existence (and occasionally watching good ones too).


Natasha Ter-Saakov, Apprentice Instructor
Natasha studied mathematics (and computer science and education) at MIT and is now a graduate student at Rutgers University. She participated in MathILy 2014 and 2015 and MathILy-EST 2019 and was an Apprentice Instructor in 2021. When she is able to, Natasha enjoys fire spinning. At home, she can be found baking and even occasionally assembling IKEA furniture.

Kye Shi, Apprentice Instructor
Kye has been flirting with math for as long as he remembers. In high school, he once wrote a Python script to do his math homework for him (because, geez, how many more matrices do you want me to invert?). It wasn't until he attended MathILy in 2015 that he realized what math really was about. In 2017, he attended the IPhO in Indonesia and won a gold medal. He is about to graduate with a mathematics and computer science major from Harvey Mudd College, where he does all sorts of cool-sounding things, such as digital electronics, Advent of Code, drumming, and wheelthrowing. He was an Apprentice Instructor in 2020 and 2021.


Alvin Chiu, Apprentice Instructor
Alvin graduated from Georgia Tech with a double major in mathematics and computer science and will be an incoming graduate student at UC Irvine. He participated in MathILy 2017 and MathILy-EST 2019, which were key in showing him what it means to have mathematical maturity. He enjoys combinatorial optimization and computational geometry. When he grows tired of walking, he likes to bike or skate.

Jonathan Shoung, PRiME FACToR (Protector and Responder in the MathILy Environment, Facilitator of Academics and CriTiquer of wRiting)
Jon is a rising senior studying mathematics and computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. He is most interested in algorithm design and analysis, and has been trying his hand in mathematical finance. He participated in MathILy 2018 and is very excited to return as a staff member. When he is not working or studying, Jon enjoys keeping his mind active with strategy games and board games. He has recently begun development of a turn-based strategy game as a passion project.


Katie Forbes, PRiME FACToR (Protector and Responder in the MathILy Environment, Facilitator of Academics and CriTiquer of wRiting)
Katie is a rising senior at Princeton University majoring in computer science. She likes playing piano, composing music, baking, and origami. She attended MathILy in 2018.

MathILy, MathILy-Er, and MathILy-EST are projects of the nonprofit organization Mathematical Staircase, Inc..