Distinguished Alumni Award
A former MATHCOUNTS competitor, Lou DiGioia joined the MATHCOUNTS national office staff in 2002, and served as Executive Director for 11 years. During his tenure at MATHCOUNTS, Lou spearheaded multiple initiatives that grew the program and deepened its impact, including launching the National Math Club in 2007 and Math Video Challenge in 2011.
Lou also oversaw a rebranding of the MATHCOUNTS Foundation and helped shift the organization towards program evaluation and volunteer support. As part of those efforts, Lou led the execution of two conventions for volunteer coordinators, evaluations of the MATHCOUNTS Competition Series and Math Video Challenge, and new outreach initiatives to underserved communities.
In April 2018, Lou joined DECA, Inc. as Executive Director, where he continues to expand education opportunities for students by supporting emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Though no longer at MATHCOUNTS, Lou remains an avid supporter of the organization and its mission.
In 2013, MATHCOUNTS made Bob McWilliams, Steve Dziki and Keith Johnson honorary MATHCOUNTS alumni for their work at M Squared OnStage. Every year, Bob, Steve (both pictured) and Keith tirelessly devote themselves to developing innovative ways to improve the National Competition. Their hard work, creativity and positive attitudes have made the national Countdown Round, Math Video Challenge Finals and Awards Banquet exciting and memorable for the students, educators, volunteers and supporters who attend them.
After competing at the national level in MATHCOUNTS, Richard Rusczyk was a three-time participant in the Math Olympiad Summer Program and a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner. After graduating from Princeton University, he began work as a bond trader and co-wrote the Art of Problem Solving books, designed to prepare students for mathematical competitions by teaching them concepts and problem solving methods rarely taught in school.
Over time, Richard realized his true passion in life was education. Building on the success of his books, he founded Art of Problem Solving (AoPS) to provide interactive educational opportunities to avid math students. AoPS has grown over the years, reaching thousands of students, offering numerous free resources and math classes and hosting one of the largest math forums on the internet.
Rusczyk and AoPS also have been dedicated supporters of MATHCOUNTS, advising the Foundation on various projects and providing invaluable resources to students and educators. AoPS created and maintains MATHCOUNTS OPLET and the MATHCOUNTS Trainer App. Richard creates the monthly MATHCOUNTS Minis video series, and every year presents the "Life After MATHCOUNTS" seminar about math opportunities available to students in high school and beyond.
While studying at the University of Georgia, former MATHCOUNTS competitor Phillip Mote learned about a group of Yale students who successfully established a MATHCOUNTS outreach program in their local community. Inspired by that effort, he started MATHCOUNTS Outreach @UGA, a program that connected University of Georgia students with Athens-area schools to support their MATHCOUNTS programs.
Given Phillip’s passion for the program, news traveled fast, and soon many more students were recruited to participate. After just three years, the program had grown to over 100 college student volunteers (many of them MATHCOUNTS alumni). Currently, the program reaches hundreds of students, and was recognized by the University of Georgia Foundation in 2010 with a SOAR award as the best new student campus organization.
Phillip’s extraordinary efforts to promote math education through alumni involvement in his community demonstrate the highest level of commitment to MATHCOUNTS and the ideals MATHCOUNTS seeks to instill in its participants. He is currently an MD candidate at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
While studying at Yale University, Brian Edwards, a former MATHCOUNTS national competitor seized the opportunity to share his enthusiasm for math with students in the New Haven community—an area with no participating MATHCOUNTS schools. Working with other Yale students, Brian created MATHCOUNTS Outreach, the first officially recognized MATHCOUNTS-college partnership connecting university student coaches with middle school students in their local communities.
By the time he graduated in 2009, Brian had created a self-sustaining program that had already reached more than 20 schools. In 2010, the program reached an incredible milestone when one of its students reached the National Competition. MATHCOUNTS Outreach continues to thrive today, with over 60 Yale students in the program reaching over 600 students in 31 local middle schools.
Brian's extraordinary efforts to promote math education through alumni involvement inspired a similar effort at the University of Georgia, and each day, more middle school students are given the opportunity to participate and benefit from MATHCOUNTS because of his efforts. Brian earned a Ph.D. from Northwestern University and is currently the director for the USA Mathematical Talent Search.
To nominate someone for this award, please email the MATHCOUNTS national office. Please provide the name and contact information of the alumnus/a being nominated, as well as a brief reason for your nomination.