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 2023 lineup (so far):

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. 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. Emily Peters, Lead Instructor
Emily earned her Ph.D. in math from Berkeley in 2009, where she studied operator algebras (like linear algebra, only more so), proof by pictures, and knots. After uncountably many* postdoctoral positions, she's now an assistant professor at Loyola University, Chicago. She is married to a fellow mathematician, and they have two kids, ages 11 and 8. Emily knits, weaves, sews, reads, and can do one pushup and the monkey bars. She taught at MathILys 2017 and 2018 and 2020 and 2021.

*not really.


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--2022.


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--22.

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). He was an Apprentice Instructor in 2022.


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 and 2022. 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. In 2022, he graduated from Harvey Mudd College with a mathematics and computer science major and is now a graduate student at UCLA, where he uses math as an excuse to write computer programs for fun (or is it the other way around? he doesn't know). These days, Kye's favorite non-nerdy hobbies are percussion, ballroom dancing, and West Coast swing dancing. He was an Apprentice Instructor in 2020, 2021, and 2022.


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 2019--2022.

Frank Lu, Apprentice Instructor
Frank is a graduating senior at Princeton University studying mathematics, where he also is part of a piano ensemble (which he will eagerly talk about). In the coming fall, he will be attending graduate school at Harvard, where he will likely be studying algebraic number theory. Besides math and piano, Frank also enjoys writing and playing games of various types with friends. He attended MathILy in 2018 and was the FRANK (Facilitates Rumination, Activating New Knowledge) in 2020.


Jessica Lee, PRiME FACToR (Protector and Responder in the MathILy Environment, Facilitator of Academics and CriTiquer of wRiting)
Jessica attended MathILy-Er 2017, MathILy 2018, and MathILy 2019, where she had her mind blown by symmetric hats and dancing ducks. She is currently studying math at Harvard, where she also plays several club sports, sings in a show choir, leads a magic club, and eats lots of unlimited ice cream. Jessica plays quadball (formerly "quidditch") and is a member of the US National Team Developmental Academy. Her favorite activity at MathILy was nighttime capture the flag.

Basia Klos, PRiME FACToR (Protector and Responder in the MathILy Environment, Facilitator of Academics and CriTiquer of wRiting)
Basia just graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and will be earning a PhD in algebraic geometry starting this fall. She enjoys reading classics, climbing mountains, traveling, and wearing Chacos. She has never been to MathILy and looks forward to experiencing nighttime capture the flag.

Thea Rugg, PRiME FACToR (Protector and Responder in the MathILy Environment, Facilitator of Academics and CriTiquer of wRiting)
Thea is a senior math major at Haverford College and will be starting her PhD in the fall, where she will most likely be studying algebraic topology. She enjoys reading, practicing her German, and has recently taken up tap dancing. Thea has never been to MathILy before, and is looking forward to ticking summer off the list of seasons she's spent in Pennsylvania.

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