NAMC Advisory Committee

The National Association of Math Circles welcomes advice and suggestions from the community. We are in the process of restructuring and redesigning our advisory board.

The following are prior members of this committee:

Dave Auckly:


Dave Auckly earned his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan and then held a postdoctoral position at UT Austin followed by an NSF postdoc at UC Berkeley. He then moved to Kansas State University before taking the Associate Director position at MSRI from 2009 - 2012. His research interests cover a broad range of geometry/topology and overlap with PDE, mathematical physics and algebraic geometry.

He has been very involved in many special educational programs. For example, he helped incorporate mathematics into a residential college at the University of Michigan, and created a unique `Brainstorming and Barnstorming' program and a center for the integration of undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral research at KSU. He organizes the upper level Math Circle at K-State, and is a codirector of the Navajo Nation Math Circle.

He lights up like the Vegas strip when he talks about mathematics. Dave has directed around 30 undergraduate and graduate level research projects and he has been recognized with the Lester R. Ford Award from the Mathematical Association of America, and several teaching awards.

Nancy Blachman:


When Nancy Blachman was in high school, she enjoyed playing with and solving the qualifying problems for the St. Mary's College Mathematics Competition, solving problems at the end of each chapter of her math text book, whether they were assigned or not, and helping her friends with their math homework.

Nancy founded the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival to inspire, delight, and challenge children, as the St. Mary's Mathematics Contest did for her, but with more collaboration and less competition. Thanks to its many sponsors and volunteers, the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival has been a success.

If you come across any engaging mathematical activities, games, puzzles, problems, magic tricks, videos, websites, or books for children from kindergarten to the 12th grade, Nancy would appreciate your telling her about them, so she can check them and share her favorites with teachers, parents, and children.

Nancy earned a BSc in mathematics from the University of Birmingham, UK, a Masters in Operations Research from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Masters in Computer Science from Stanford University. She is the founder of and the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival, serves on the Board of Gathering for Gardner, and is co-founder of the Nueva School Math Circle in Hillsborough, California.

Maria Droujkova:


Dr. Maria Droujkova is a curriculum developer and mathematics education consultant. She organizes meetings with project and community leaders in the Math Future interest group, an online collaboration of hundreds of researchers and educators interested in modeling software, computational tools, and social media in mathematics education. Natural Math, the company Maria founded in 2001, provides consulting on math game development, family mathematics, early algebra, individualized instruction, and math clubs.

Yvonne Lai:


Yvonne Lai is a research investigator at the University of Michigan.
Her primary research interest is mathematical knowledge for teaching,
particularly for the practices of proving and reasoning; she is also
interested in ways to support prospective secondary teachers in
developing such knowledge.

Yvonne has worked with various programs, including the Canada/USA
Mathcamp, where she has served as academic coordinator, and the Davis
Math Circle, which she founded.

Yvonne holds an S.B. in mathematics from MIT, and a Ph.D. in
mathematics from the University of California-Davis; her dissertation
examined spaces of actions of Coxeter groups on n-dimensional
hyperbolic space. Prior to joining the Educational Studies department
of the School of Education, she was a post-doctoral fellow in the math
department at the University of Michigan.

Jonathan Li:


Johnny is an undergraduate student at Harvard University where he concentrates in Chemistry and Physics with secondary field in Mathematics. Passionate in mathematics and the sciences, he has conducted mathematical biology research at UC Irvine and is currently studying diabetes genetics at Harvard's Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology.

Johnny is deeply invested in community service efforts. In 2007, he founded the Orange County Math Circle (OCMC), a high school student-run organization which provides math resources accessible to all. Since then, OCMC has steadily grown in popularity, attracting students and volunteers from schools all around Southern California. Currently, he serves as a mentor to OCMC and is working on promoting student-led community service projects nationwide.

Bill Ritchie:

Hector Rosario:


Hector Rosario is a professor of mathematics at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus. He earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University under Henry Pollak and Bruce Vogeli. A former high school teacher in New York City in the late 1990s, Hector has been involved with math and logic puzzles as enrichment tools since those days. He was also the founder/director of the Puerto Rico Math Circle and hosted Circle on the Road 2013. He is an editor of the forthcoming book Mathematics and Its Teaching in the Southern Americas, an anthology about the history of mathematics and mathematics education in 17 Latin American and Caribbean nations.

Hugo Rossi (former Director):


Hugo Rossi joined the faculty of the Mathematics department in 1974 and has served as department chair and Dean of Sciences before retirement in 2003, when he went to the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, CA for three years. While there, he worked with Tatiana Shubin, Zvezdelina Stankova, and Paul Zeitz to start the first math circles in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2008 he rejoined the faculty at Utah to turn his attention to starting mathematics-teacher training programs based on content-driven pedagogy and to start the newly formed Center for Science and Mathematics Education

Mark Saul:


Mark Saul, Ph.D., has touched the lives of thousands of mathematically gifted students through his work as a teacher and author, President of the American Regions Mathematics League (ARML), Director of the Research Science Institute, and editor of Quantum (the Russian/American journal of mathematics and physics for high ability students) and The Mathematics Teacher for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. He has also consulted abroad for mathematical organizations in Russia, Bulgaria, Taiwan, South Africa, Botswana, and India. In 2001, he served as Chief Guide for the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) held that year in Washington, DC. He served as a program officer for the National Science Foundation and consultant for the John Templeton Foundation. Currently, he directs the Center for Mathematical Talent, and outreach program of the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University.

Amanda Serenevy:


Amanda Serenevy holds a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Indiana University South Bend and a PhD in mathematics from Boston University. In 2007, she completed a PhD dissertation on the dynamics of networks of inhibitory neurons in the hippocampus. She has additional research interests in dynamical systems, iterated matrix maps, geometric topology and mathematical origami.

Amanda has been active with the Math Circle movement to connect mathematicians with young students interested in mathematics. She first became involved with Math Circles as an instructor in Bob and Ellen Kaplan's Math Circle program in the Boston area. She now regularly co-organizes events for mathematicians and teachers from around the country who are interested in starting their own outreach programs, and has mentored many new Math Circle leaders.

In 2006, Amanda and her husband Dean founded the Riverbend Community Math Center, located in South Bend, Indiana. She continues to serve as the executive director, leading professional development sessions for teachers, and math programs for people of all ages.

Tatiana Shubin:


Tatiana Shubin joined the faculty of San Jose State University in 1985 after earning her Ph.D. in Mathematics from UC Santa Barbara. In 2006, she won the Northern California, Nevada, and Hawaii Section (a.k.a. Golden Section) of the MAA Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.

She was born and grew up in the USSR, and as an eighth grader attended a specialized physics and mathematics boarding school in Siberia. These years were instrumental in kindling her passion for mathematics, and convinced her that interaction with working mathematicians can give young students much more than merely a solid training in the subject. This experience prompted her to co-found San Jose Math Circle and the Bay Area Math Adventures in 1998, and to become one of the leaders of the National Math Circles movement.

Shubin translated and edited several books published by the AMS in the MSRI Mathematical Circles Library. She is also the chair of the editorial board of this series.

She is a co-director of Navajo Nation Math Circles project which is aimed at launching and supporting math circles for students and teachers on the Navajo Nation, and providing other mathematically rich experiences, such as summer math camps, to Navajo children.

James Tanton:


Believing that mathematics really is accessible to all, James Tanton (PhD, Mathematics, Princeton 1994) is committed to sharing the delight and the beauty of the subject. In 2004 James founded the St. Mark’s Institute of Mathematics, an outreach program promoting joyful and effective mathematics education for both students and educators. He worked as a full-time high school teacher at St. Mark’s School in Southborough MA,(2004-2012) and conducted mathematics graduate courses for teachers.

James is now the Mathematician in Residence at the Mathematical Association of America in Washington D.C. and is still actively engaged in professional development for educators throughout the U.S, Canada, and overseas. He also conducts the professional development program for Math for America, D.C.

James is the author of SOLVE THIS: MATH ACTIVITIES FOR STUDENTS AND CLUBS (MAA, 2001), THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MATHEMATICS (Facts on File, 2005), MATHEMATICS GALORE! (MAA, 2012) and twelve self-published texts. He is the 2005 recipient of the Beckenbach Book Prize, the 2006 recipient of the Kidder Faculty Prize at St. Mark’s School, and a 2010 recipient of a Raytheon Math Hero Award for excellence in school teaching.

He also publishes research and expository articles, and through his extracurricular research classes for students has helped high school students pursue research projects and also publish their results.

More about James can be learned from his website He is also making his content-focused development work available for free online at

Peter Trapa (former Director):


Peter Trapa has a long-standing interest and appreciation for working with mathematically talented kids, beginning in his days as a graduate student (where he had the good fortune of helping pay the bills by tutoring several phenomenal middle and high school students), and continuing through his work with the Utah Math Circle (where he served as coordinator for the past decade or so).

Peter earned his PhD from MIT and held postdoctoral positions at Harvard and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton before joining the faculty at the University of Utah where he is now Professor and Chair. His research is devoted to the mathematical theory of symmetry.

Ravi Vakil:


Ravi Vakil is a Professor of Mathematics at Stanford, where he is also the Robert K. Packard University Fellow and the David Huntington Faculty Scholar. He is an algebraic geometer, and his work touches on many other parts of mathematics, including topology, string theory, applied mathematics, combinatorics, number theory, and more. He works extensively with talented younger mathematicians at all levels, from high school (through math circles, camps, and olympiads), through recent Ph.D.'s. He cofounded the Stanford Math Circle (with Sam Vandervelde), and the Polya Problem Seminars at Stanford.

Diana White (current Director):


Diana received her Ph.D. in commutative algebra from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 2007. While there, she developed a strong interest in working with teachers, and after a postdoctoral position in mathematics at the University of South Carolina, she accepted a tenure track position at the University of Colorado Denver as her department's first mathematician specializing in mathematics education. She has now transitioned her scholarly focus entirely to mathematics teaching and learning, with a primary focus on math teacher training and teacher professional development.

One of her first activities at CU Denver was to start the Rocky Mountain Math Teachers' Circle, which is now in its third year and has served over 100 teachers from all across the state of Colorado. She is involved significantly with the Math Teachers' Circle at the national level, partnering with the American Institute of Mathematics as co-PI of an NSF DRK12 grant to study the impact the program is having on teachers, as well as helping to facilitate their "How to Run a Math Teachers' Circle" program and serving as part of the evaluation team for several other Math Teachers' Circles. Her other Math Circle activities include contributing to the MAA Special Interest Group on Math Circles for Students and Teachers and partnering with two teachers on a forthcoming Math Circle for middle school kids.

Her other professional activities include running an NSF Noyce Scholarship grant and internship program for pre-service secondary math teachers, serving on the MAA's abstract algebra subcommittee as part of the Committee on Undergraduate Programs in Mathematics (CUPM), and serving as President of the Rocky Mountain Section of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators.

Brandy Wiegers (former Director):


Brandy is currently working for the San Francisco State University Center for Science & Math Education as the Project Director of Outreach and Student Success. This role includes work with an NSF GK12 program, mathematical and science out-of-school projects, and work with Math Circles. Currently Brandy is the Associate Director of the San Francisco Math Circle, the Publicity Coordinator for the National Association of Math Circles, and the Co-Director of the Bay Area Circle for Teachers. Additionally she is developing a Math Circle evaluation tool for understanding the impact of Math Circles on student attitudes of mathematics. Previously Brandy was the founding director of the Oakland/ East Bay Math Circle and one of the founding directors of the UC Davis Explore Math program.

Prior to her life in Math Circles, Brandy Wiegers grew up in Meridian, Idaho and spent her youth as a dedicated Girl Scout and student. In 2002 she graduated from University of Idaho (in Moscow, Idaho) with Mathematics and Biological Systems Engineering Degrees because she didn't want to decide which science was her favorite so she decided to study them all. From UI Brandy went to the University of California, Davis (near Sacramento) where she completed her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics. Her research focuses on computational mathematical biology and numerical analysis.

Paul Zeitz:


Originally trained as an ergodic theorist (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1992), today Paul Zeitz's overriding interest is mathematical problem solving and the promulgation of an Eastern European-inspired problem-solving culture to American audiences.

Towards this end, he wrote The Art and Craft of Problem Solving in 1998, co-founded the Bay Area Mathematical Olympiad in 1999, and co-founded the San Francisco Math Circle in 2005. In 2009 he produced a series of video lectures for The Teaching Company on problem solving. He is a frequent presenter at math circles throughout the country, working with audiences ranging from elementary school students to high school teachers.

Joshua Zucker:


After completing his degrees in physics, math, and astrophysics at Stanford and UC Berkeley, Joshua Zucker taught at both private and public schools in the Bay Area. Most recently, he helped found the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festivals and has served as the director of the Bay Area Mathematical Olympiad as well as the National Association of Math Circles. He teaches at math circles in the Bay Area, from San Jose to Marin, as well as online for the Art of Problem Solving. He discovered his love for number theory at Dr. Arnold Ross's summer program at Ohio State University over 20 years ago. Joshua has been invited to the US Math Olympiad Summer Program, is a member of the first US Physics Olympiad team, and is a top-10 scorer on the Putnam.

Past committee members:

Mira Bernstein

Gail Burrill

Sam Vandervelde