It is no exaggeration to say that MATHCOUNTS alumni go on to do truly extraordinary things. From engaging in community service projects, to researching cures for diseases, to creating their own businesses, our alumni are making an impact on the world.

The Alumni Spotlight Project was created as a way to recognize some of these talented young men and women, but also to help inspire current Mathletes, math club members and Math Video Challengers who are just starting out on their path to success in math. We’ll be posting profiles of alumni each month, so keep checking back!

If you know of a MATHCOUNTS alumnus/a who should be recognized, please tell us about it at info@mathcounts.org or (703) 299-9006. And, if you’re an alumnus/a who is already featured on the Alumni Spotlight Project, please keep us updated so we can add to your profile!

Robert Anderson

State: Iowa

Alumni Years: 2004-2007

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: Iowa State University

Why He's Awesome: After being a MATHCOUNTS State Competitor in middle school, Robert continued to excel academically. He was his high school's valedictorian and was also featured as one of the 10 most outstanding students in Iowa by the Des Moines Register. He was also Co-Captain of his high school's Academic and Science Bowl Team. In addition to his acadmic successes, he was active in Boy Scouts and was awarded Eagle Scout ranking for his community blood drive project. Robert is also an accomplished musician; he earned recognition, including the U.S. Marine Corps Semper Fidelis Music Excellence Award, as a member of his high school marching, pep, jazz and concert bands. Robert currently studies aerospace engineering.

 

   MATHCOUNTS took a student like me with an aptitude for math and made it more interesting and challenging. It gave me confidence to pursue a degree that requires me to use complex problem-solving skills every day.

James deVries

State: Pennsylvania

Alumni Years: 2008-2009

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: Grove City College

Why He's Awesome: After his success as a Mathlete, James went on to earn numerous academic, athletic and extracurricular honors in high school. He served as Team Captain of the Scholastic Quiz League—earning the award of League Top Scorer—and was a National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist. He also competed at the district and state level as part of his school's varsity cross country and tennis teams and was elected Vice President of his class in 2011. James plans to pursue a career as a mechanical engineer.

 

   MATHCOUNTS revolutionized my perspective on math. In fact, because I learned to enjoy problem-solving and take pride in my academic achievement, I was inspired to take an accelerated mathematics curriculum...The influence of my positive experience at MATHCOUNTS will continue to drive me to success in any math-related aspect of my life.

Steffanie Robertus

State: Montana

Alumni Years: 2004-2006

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: Montana State University

Why She's Awesome: After being the top scorer at her MATHCOUNTS Chapter Competition and a State Competitor in middle school, Steffanie continued to excel in STEM. As a high school student, she was a National Merit Scholar and Valedictorian of her class. In college she majored in Biotechnology and worked as a Laboratory Technician, as well as an Undergraduate Research Associate on two separate projects. She was a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship and a member of Phi Kappa Phi and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She plans to work in the medical field.

 

   One of the most memorable things I learned from my experience in MATHCOUNTS is that in order to succeed, one must accept the possibility of failure...In particular, my MATHCOUNTS coach helped me to overcome my fear of failure, encouraging and reminding [my teammates and me] that our identities did not hinge on our performance, and that the MATHCOUNTS contest would not define us. Instead we should do our best, enjoy the competition, and learn from the experience...My experience in MATHCOUNTS has greatly contributed to shaping the person I am today.

MATHCOUNTS Alumni Spotlight - Taylor LaddTaylor Ladd

State: U.S. Virgin Islands

Alumni Years: 2007-2010

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: Harvard College

Why She's Awesome: A former MATHCOUNTS national competitor, Taylor went on to earn numerous awards and honors in high school. She was the recipient of the University of Pennsylvania Book Award and the AP Scholar Award, and she was a National Merit Scholarship Finalist and Valedictorian of her class. Taylor also has engaged in numerous community service projects through her work as an officer in the National Honor Society, as a Peer Leader at her school and through Habitat for Humanity. She is also an accomplished sailor, having been a part of her high school's varsity sailing team, as well as a sailing instructor.    

 

   Throughout my childhood, my mom highly stressed the fact that I should never dumb myself down to fit in. She told me stories of girls who felt that their intelligence was too intimidating for their male counterparts, so much so that they would purposely give less than their best in school...MATHCOUNTS enabled me to follow my mother's sage advice throughout middle and high school. The MATHCOUNTS club at my school was relatively large so it was not condemned as a 'nerdy' activity...Because of this positive reinforcement, any possible stigma was removed from loving school and learning and I never once felt embarrassed for doing well.

Geoffrey Martello

State: Massachusetts

Alumni Years: 2007-2009

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: Harvard College

Why He's Awesome: A former MATHCOUNTS State Competitor, Geoffrey went on to win numerous awards in high school—from being named a National Merit Scholar and Valedictorian of his class to winning the Student-Athlete of the Year Award. As a Research Intern in the Department of Neurosurgery at Boston Children's Hospital, Geoffrey conducted research about pediatric thalamic tumors that was published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics. He later became the Director of Administration for Advocating Success for Kids, serving as a liaison between Boston Children's Hospital and families. Currently a student at Harvard, Geoffrey is the Director of Publicity of the Harvard Pre-Medical Society's Executive Board. He plans to major in Applied Mathematics with a focus on molecular and cellular biology.

 

   Whether my medical career involves health policy, research, or hospital administration, math will continue to play a large role in my day-to-day life. And I am confident that my experiences with MATHCOUNTS will continue to foster my love of math that will benefit me now and for the rest of my life.

Adrienne Carmack

State: Maine

Alumni Years: 2006-2009

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: Colby College 

Why She's Awesome: Adrienne Carmack is the winner of the 2014 MATHCOUNTS Alumni Scholarship. A former national competitor from Maine, Adrienne later served as a volunteer MATHCOUNTS coach for four years during high school. After graduating second in her class with numerous academic and extracurricular honors, she joined AmeriCorps, where she worked with Girl Scouts of Maine designing financial literacy programming and leading troops. Inspired by her work with children, Carmack aspires to be a high school teacher and clinical psychologist.

 

   MATHCOUNTS shaped my middle school experience in countless ways, cultivating the love of math I already had and giving me the chance to see how far math could take me. It prepared me for the next level of math, as well as for future math competitions, and gave me role models in my coaches and friends in my fellow Mathletes. Most importantly, participating in MATHCOUNTS in middle school taught me to approach the rest of my studies—and the rest of my life—in the way in which we learned at those 7 AM practices: creatively, uniquely, and collaboratively.

Seth Lanius

State: Missouri

Alumni Years: 2008-2010

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: Missouri University of Science and Technology

Why He's Awesome: After his time as a Mathlete, Seth continued to pursue his interests in math and engineering. He was a member (and later a leader) of his high school's math club and won 1st Place in the St. Louis Regional Project Lead The Way Challenge as part of his high school's engineering team. Seth is also active in marching band and pep band, playing at various events and competitions. He has also been actively engaged in community service projects and missionary work through his church. Seth plans to study mechanical engineering. 

 

   MATHCOUNTS was one of the biggest influences toward me wanting to find a math-based career. The opportunity to take engineering classes in high school has been invaluable because [those classes] have blended hands-on experience with math knowledge... I will always remember, though, that it was MATHCOUNTS that started me on this path of problem-solving and calculating how to help make the world a better place.

Derek Arbige

State: Connecticut

Alumni Years: 2006-2009

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: University of Pennsylvania

Why He's Awesome: Derek continued to foster his love of math after MATHCOUNTS by participating in, and later leading, his high school's math team. He went on to win First Place in the American Math Competition AMC 12 during his senior year. Beyond his talent and interest in math, Derek has garnered recognition for his achievements in soccer; he helped lead his high school soccer team to the state semifinals and has served as a volunteer assistant soccer coach for the Special Olympics for more than six years. He also has earned a number of presitigious awards for his academic successes—from being named a National Merit Finalist, to winning the Connecticut Superintendent's Award of Excellence, to being Salutatorian of his class.

 

   Before I did MATHCOUNTS, I had always considered math just like I considered all of my other school subjects: interesting to an extent, but mostly just something to learn and eventually master. MATHCOUNTS then proceeded to open my eyes. I started doing math for the sake of doing math, because I enjoyed it, because MATHCOUNTS made math fun.

Nicholas Garside

State: New Hampshire

Alumni Years: 2007-2010

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: University of Alabama

Why He's Awesome: Inspired in part by his own passion for competition and math, Nicholas went on to prepare future Mathletes as a teacher and lab assistant at ThinkForFun. In high school he received the AP Scholar Award, along with the National Honor Society Award. In addition to his academic achievements, Nicholas also has been active in his community, serving both through the National Honor Society and as part of the Homefront Veteran Club. Nicholas was also a successful football player, earning the title of Most Valuable Player, along with multiple student-athlete awards.

 

   It was the competitive spirit in MATHCOUNTS that influenced my approach towards my academic studies. It made me see the enjoyment in learning new things, which in turn prepared me for middle school and the world beyond.

Jackson Ramsey

State: Illinois

Alumni Years: 2007-2009

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: North Central College

Why He's Awesome: Jackson has been highly successful in his science and mathematics endeavors. He was a member of a homeschool Science Olympiad team and won 10 regional medals in nine separate events. He also worked as a Mathematics Researcher at North Central College and was named the Outstanding Lederman Scholar in Mathematics. He is active in community service through his church, serving as an AWANA volunteer and participating in numerous mission trips in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He received the AWANA Citation Award in recognition of his studies, leadership and service.

 

   My homeschool MATHCOUNTS team surrounded me with a peer group interested in mathematics, and the tests themselves gave me a glimpse of the complexity and power of more advanced math. As a middle school student just learning proofs and algebra, MATHCOUNTS provided an intriguing window into the beauty of mathematics.

Michael Sperry

State: South Dakota

Alumni Years: 2007-2010

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: University of Mary

Why He's Awesome: Michael has been a longtime participant and leader in 4-H; he has participated in 4-H activities at the local, county, state and even national level, and was selected as one of only five students to be a part of the National 4-H Conference Youth Leadership Team. He has been highly successful in theater—starring in numerous plays and musicals—and is also active in band and cross country. He has served his community as a member of the Catholic Brotherhood and a camp counselor at Camp Dream Makers. He aspires to be an optometrist.

 

   MATHCOUNTS involved me in working with a team to use problem solving techniques. I learned to discuss and defend my answers as well as how to listen to others, sift through all the answers and compromise to reach the best answer to our team problems in a limited amount of time...I know that I need to be able to work well with other people and being a member of a MATHCOUNTS team for 3 years provided me with many opportunities and has helped prepare me for the challenges the future may bring.

Michael Feffer

Michael Feffer

State: Pennsylvania

Alumni Years: 2007-2010

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Why He's Awesome: Michael was a Pennsylvania AP State Scholar and competed as a member of the Academic Quiz Bowl at his high school. Beyond his academic achievements he has received a number of accolades for his extracurricular merits. As a member of his high school's varsity swim team, he was a PIAA Swimming State Championship Qualifier and YMCA Short-Course National Championship Qualifier. Michael is also a gifted musician. He was a violinist in his high school's Full Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra and won the Arthur Goldstein Scholarship for music students. He is also an accomplished solo piano player who, having been an American Fine Arts Festival Finalist, was invited to play at Carnegie Hall. He aspires to be a computer programmer.

 

   [MATHCOUNTS] helped me discover that I was a student who excelled in STEM subjects...Additionally I helped other students fall in love with math by helping out the middle school team of which I used to be a part, by proctoring middle school math exams, and by tutoring students in math so that they could better understand it. Without MATHCOUNTS, it is entirely possible that I might not have developed an interest or strength in math or STEM-related fields and that I would not have helped people reach their math goals.

Jessica Nichols

State: Oklahoma

Alumni Years: 2006-2009

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: University of Southern California

Why She's Awesome: Jessica has won a number of academic awards and continued to succeed in STEM following her time as a MATHCOUNTS State Competitor. She was Valedictorian of her class, a Nationlal Merit Semifinalist, President of the National Honor Society and a recipient of the AP Scholar Award. Jessica also was sercretary of her high school's robotics team and an intern at the Fab Lab in Tulsa. She received the USC Presidential Scholarship and currently studies chemical engineering. A well-rounded student, Jessica also is active in cross country/track and serves as a volunteer tutor at an inner-city elementary school in Los Angeles.

 

   If not for MATHCOUNTS, I would not have been able to comprehend the absolute essentiality of teamwork. With this understanding of cooperation's importance, I can now confidently pursue my studies as an engineer.

Mitchell Yerk

State: Pennsylvania

Alumni Years: 2008-2009

Participated In: The National Math Club

Current School:  Pennsylvania State University

Why He's Awesome: After his own time in his middle school's math club, Mitchell served as a MATHCOUNTS volunteer in high school, helping students at his former middle school become better problem solvers. Mitchell received numerous academic honors in high school, including being inducted into the National Honor Society and the National Society of High School Scholars. He also won the Daniel Fox Youth Scholarship to study actuarial science at Lebanon Valley College. In addition to his academic success, Mitchell served on his high school's Student Council, was captain of the varsity volleyball team and was a co-leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He plans to be an actuary.   

 

   MATHCOUNTS gave me my first spark of interest in math and an opportunity to expand my skills. It nurtured my passion and gave me support for improving my education in math.

MATHCOUNTS Alumni Spotlight - Aditya JainAditya Jain

State: Texas

Alumni Years: 2007-2010

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: Northwestern University

Why He's Awesome: After his time as a MATHCOUNTS state competitor, Aditya continued to pursue STEM education, serving as an officer in the math honor society, Mu Alpha Theta, as well as in the engineering and science club, Junior Engineering Technical Society. He was a Siemens Competition Semifinalist, a USA Junior Math Olympiad Qualifier and a member of the Texas Science Olympiad Championship Team. A well-rounded student, Aditya also was a National AP Scholar and member of the German Club, Academic Speech Team and Academic Challenge Quiz Bowl Club. He plans to study applied mathematics.

 

   Competition taught me not to underestimate the difficulty of any task before me or the skill of those around me. My experience in the MATHCOUNTS program taught me to always look forward to how I may improve myself.

Max Saccone

State: Rhode Island

Alumni Years: 2006-2009

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: Dartmouth College

Why He's Awesome: Max continuted to pursue extracurricular math after his MATHCOUNTS days. He was a member (and later president) of his high school's math team, competing in the Rhode Island Math League and qualifying for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). Max also was a lab intern in the engineering division of a conservation consulting group, where he designed his own experiment. In addition to his STEM activities, Max is a successful bass player for 2AM—a rock/jazz/funk/reggae band he started with his brother and friend when he was in middle school.

 

   Learning about the incredible order of nature that could be described by math was fascinating. I had always been good at math, and been placed in advanced math courses, but my deep exploration of math during MATHCOUNTS practices made math into a passion for me, rather than simply a tool. MATHCOUNTS practice was an infectious environment of intellectual curiousity where I not only competed against my classmates, but also genuinely strove for deeper understanding of math, fueled by the entire group's enthusiasm.

Stephen Wayne

State: Idaho

Alumni Years: 2005-2007

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: University of Idaho

Why He's Awesome: An engineering student at the University of Idaho, Stephen has already garnered success in his field as an intern at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. He was named an Engineering Scholar and is also a member of the engineering honors society, Tau Beta Pi. His academic accolades extend beyond engineering; he is a member of the merit-based honor society Phi Eta Sigma and is on the Dean's List. Stephen also has been active on his swim team and has worked as a swimming instructor and lifeguard.

 

   I understand how much the opportunity to participate in MATHCOUNTS meant to me...I know that [in my professional career] I will emphasize programs such as this to help bright young students become excited about math (and STEM education in general) so that they might experience the same passion and academic drive that was awoken in me in seventh grade.

Katherine Cherian

State: New Hampshire

Alumni Years: 2008-2010

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Why She's Awesome: Katherine has been the recipient of numerous prestigious academic awards, including the Harvard Book Award, the MIT Promise of the Future Award for inspiring others in STEM and the Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award for excellence in science. She also was active in FIRST Robotics, serving as the CEO of her team and becoming a FIRST Dean's List Semifinalist. Katherine was active in her school's Debate Team, Math Team and National Honor Society. She aspires to work in materials sciences and engineering.

 

   I learned that math is beautiful. It's challenging. It puzzled me in a way that nothing ever had, and I had always loved puzzles. When I met other kids in the [MATHCOUNTS] program, I met a longtime group of friends. They have supported me, collaborated with me, and competed with me over the past six years. Before MATHCOUNTS, math wasn't something that interested me—it was merely another subject to earn an A in. Now it's a puzzle and a tool. Math has served as the basis of my immense appreciation and passion for the sciences, especially chemistry and physics.

Ryan Boyland

State: Nebraska

Alumni Years: 2007-2009

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: Harvard College

Why He's Awesome: After competing at the national level in MATHCOUNTS, Ryan went on to be highly successful in high school. He was Valedictorian of his class, an AP Scholar with Distinction and recipient of the Woodmen of the Year Award, Believers and Achievers Award and Academic All-State Award for Basketball and Football. As a student at Harvard, Ryan has been an active member of the Harvard Society for Black Scientists and Engineers and Treasurer of the Harvard Freshman Black Table organization. Ryan is passionate about social justice and awareness; he participated in the "I, too, am Harvard" social movement and completed community service projects through the First-Year Urban Program. He plans to major either in neurobiology or astrophysics.

 

   [The MATHCOUNTS National Competition] was one of the first situations in which I was in an environment that I was allowed to interact with people from a wide range of different and varied backgrounds...Our common bond that was the MATHCOUNTS compeititon united us and allowed math to quite literally bring us together.

Adam Case

State: Oregon

Alumni Years: 2007-2008

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Why He's Awesome: After participating in MATHCOUNTS, Adam went on to become one of the top 10 students in the Southern Oregon Math League for geometry. He worked with elementary school students as a chaperone and teaching assistant through his church, and also was an assistant contractor and data entry clerk at a construction company. Adam currently studies aeronautical engineering and is a member of a the NASA Space Grant Program, where he helps manage flight operations.

 

   MATHCOUNTS inspired me to reach out, do well to become an engineer, and participate more in extracurricular activities.

MATHCOUNTS Alumni Spotlight - Rabecca SpriegelRebecca Spriegel

State: Illinois

Alumni Years: 2008-2009

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: Wheaton College

Why She's Awesome: A student at Wheaton College, Rebecca has been recognized on the Dean's List and currently works as a tutor. She also has been active in theater, serving as a Drama Director at the Rift Valley Academy and a Light Crew Technician at Wheaton College's Arena Theater. Rebecca served as long-time community service volunteer as part of Tabitha Ministries, where she helped families in Kenya. She plans to become a teacher.

 

   MATHCOUNTS drew out my capabilities to see problems from multiple angles. The challenge of many problems was to find the easy perspective, the legitimate short cut through which to approach the problem...It is through this that I have become interested first in tutoring, and now in teaching...Everyone learns so differently, and as I experienced in MATHCOUNTS, there are many ways to get to the single correct answer. Different people learn better through different approaches, and I got to help them find the one that worked for them.

Samantha Washko

Samantha Washko

State: North Carolina

Alumni Years: 2007-2010

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: Duke University

Why She's Awesome: In recognition of her academic excellence, Samantha has been named a National Merit Finalist, AP Scholar with Distinction and STEM Academy Scholar with Distinction. In addition to being academically successful and well-rounded, Samantha has made community service and advocacy a major part of her life. She spent four years working with the Hendrick Marrow Program, Be the Match Foundation and Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation as a volunteer and national spokespersion. As a leader of the Junior Civitan Community Service Club and an Assistant Sunday School Teacher, she volunteered and raised money for a number of causes, including cancer research and support for victims of domestic violence. As a cancer survivor herself, Samantha is particularly passionate about cancer research and plans to apply her talents in science and math to helping find a cure for cancer.

 

 

   The problems for [my school's MATHCOUNTS] tryout were old MATHCOUNTS competition questions, and I remember looking at them and thinking that they were like nothing I had ever seen in math class before. They were different and new, like puzzles more than like the boring math problems that had populated my homework up to that point. They required logical reasoning and out-of-the-box thinking; I loved it.

Joshua Kappel

State: Pennsylvania

Alumni Years: 2006-2009

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Current School: Pennsylvania State University – New Kensington

Why He's Awesome: After being a MATHCOUNTS State Competitor in middle school, Joshua's academic and extracurricular successes continued throughout his high school years. He was in the National Honor Society, won 1st Place in the Architectural Design Competition and was the recipient of the Rachel Parker Math Memorial Award. A well-rounded student, Joshua also is a talented soccer player and swimmer, and he was voted Prom King by his high school classmates. As a student at Penn State, he has made Dean's List and participated in the highly successful campus service event, THON, to help raise money to support children with cancer. He is currently studying architectural engineering.

 

   Looking back on my very first MATHCOUNTS competition when I was in 6th grade, I clearly remember the [Countdown] Round at the end of the competition that included the top 10 individual students...Looking down at the very best students druing that round made me want to be in those seats someday, head-to-head against a fellow math whiz. This MATHCOUNTS experience was beneficial to me as a middle school student because I found myself thinking critically in not only my math courses but my other classes as well.

John Kondziolka

State: Massachusetts

Alumni Years: 2003-2004

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series

Schools Attended: Arizona State University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Currently Works At: Gradient

Why He's Awesome: After participating in MATHCOUNTS in Arizona, John went on to study civil and environmental engineering at Arizona State University. He also recently graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he conducted research in fluid mechanics. Currently he works as an environmental engineer, focusing on the identification, delineation and remediation of contaminated sites (for example, Superfund sites) in order to help restore ecosystems and protect people from exposure to hazardous materials.

 

   My MATHCOUNTS coach, Dave Alexander, guided my interest in math to a passion that would define my studies and ultimately have a strong influence on my career path. The tricks and techniques that I learned to use successfully in MATHCOUNTS have continued to prove useful throughout my studies and into my career.

Elizabeth Godfrey

State: Texas

Alumni Years: 2008-2009

Participated In: MATHCOUNTS Competition Series; The National Math Club

Current School: Rice University

Why She's Awesome: Elizabeth has been academically very successful, particularly in science and engineering. She conducted independent research throughout high school, garnering numerous awards for her work including a Silver Medal in the International Sustainable World Project Olympiad and 2nd Place in Medical Terminology at the Health Occupations Students of America National Leadership Conference. She also was named a finalist in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. As a student at Rice, she was selected as one of only 10 Baylor Medical Scholars; after completing her undergraduate work, she will attend the Baylor College of Medicine. Elizabeth plans to work in bioengineering research.

 

   I didn't really find math exciting in middle school. Instead I enjoyed the elucidation that one gets from science experiements much more, because I felt like I was really learning something new. But in 8th grade, on my school MATHCOUNTS team, problems were presented to me that were just as mysterious as a science experiment...I knew I could solve these problems with trial and error—experimentation—but that wasted a lot of time. By understanding the concepts surrounding these quesetions, I can solve their mysteries in a few seconds instead of after long, tedious calculation. In short, I learned that really understanding math is basically miraculous.