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 2024 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. Nate Harman, Lead Instructor
Nate earned his Ph.D. from MIT in 2017, ostensibly specializing in representation theory, and is now a tenure-track faculty member at the University of Georgia. He is not a college football player---or is he?! Nate has taught at MathILys 2014, 2015, 2018, 2020, and 2022, at the UMass-Amherst Mathematics Triple and at the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics, and has a personal relationship with Batman.

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--2023.


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--23.

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, 2022, and 2023. When she is able to, Natasha enjoys fire spinning. At home, she can be found baking and even occasionally assembling IKEA furniture.

Frank Lu, Apprentice Instructor
Frank is a graduate student at Harvard University, 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, was the FRANK (Facilitates Rumination, Activating New Knowledge) in 2020, and an Apprentice Instructor in 2023.


Ian Shors, Apprentice Instructor
Ian graduated from Harvey Mudd College in 2023 with a math major and is now a math PhD student at UCLA. He enjoys thinking about all things algebraic and/or combinatorial. While at Harvey Mudd College, he worked as a math tutor with the peer tutoring organization AE, and played trombone in the Pomona jazz ensemble. In his free time, he enjoys solving Rubik's cubes (which he can do moderately quickly) and watching soccer. He participated in MathILy in 2018.

Aurora Hiveley, Apprentice Instructor
Aurora is currently a mathematics PhD student at Rutgers University. She completed a double major in mathematics and physics (with an astronomy emphasis) at Macalester College in 2023. There, her undergraduate thesis studied forest-building processes (an algorithm on graphs). Her mathematical interests include graph theory and combinatorics, and her non-math interests include hiking and maintaining her Letterboxd profile.

Adrian Thananopavarn, PRiME FACToR (Protector and Responder in the MathILy Environment, Facilitator of Academics and CriTiquer of wRiting)
Adrian will graduate from Princeton this year, and he attended MathILy in 2017 and 2019. He enjoys discrete mathematics (especially graph theory) and recreational mathematics. Outside of math, he likes music production, playing the piano and viola, and ping pong. He also enjoys reading fantasy books.


Emily Shambaugh, PRiME FACToR (Protector and Responder in the MathILy Environment, Facilitator of Academics and CriTiquer of wRiting)
Emily graduated from Dickinson College in 2024 with a major in mathematics and will be attending University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the fall to start her PhD in mathematics. She enjoys all areas of mathematics, but has a particular love for combinatorics. Her interests outside of math include various kinds of fiber arts, playing the violin, hiking, and reading a wide variety of books.

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