Challenge Set Assistant

Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics (BEAM), a project of the Art of Problem Solving Foundation, is seeking a Challenge Set Assistant. You'll be part of a close-knit team helping exceptional young people to achieve their full potential. The Challenge Set Assistant will implement a new mail-in math contest for elementary and middle school students. Through this program, you'll be giving younger students across New York City access to more interesting math enrichment through problems they can do on their own, and hopefully inspiring many of them to continue to seek out new challenges.

About the Program

Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics (BEAM) helps underserved New York City students with talent in math enter a realistic pathway towards becoming scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and programmers.

BEAM's current programs provide comprehensive support from the summer after 6th grade through to high school graduation. We offer summer programs following 6th and 7th grade as well as year-round support and guidance for older students to apply to other opportunities (high schools, summer programs, and colleges). In addition to teaching academic content, bringing students into an intellectual community is a key part of our mission and all of our work is designed around that goal.

In 2017, BEAM is launching several new initiatives to strengthen the opportunities for our students:

  • Weekly enrichment classes for underserved elementary students, who might later apply to BEAM's programs for older students.
  • Monthly challenge problems mailed home to underserved students across NYC to give motivated students easy access to extracurricular math.
  • More intensive year-round follow up with BEAM high school students to strengthen their connection to BEAM, mathematics, and our program.

We are excited to be expanding the work of our organization, and we hope that you will be excited about joining us!

Your Role

We are a small organization with a startup mentality.  We all take on a variety of different tasks in order to make the program run, and everyone both contributes to program administration and does direct work with students. Any list of responsibilities will necessarily be incomplete (and evolve over time), but your responsibilities will likely include:

  • Writing monthly "challenge sets" and detailed solutions for students in grades 5-7 (this may expand to include younger grades in future years).
  • Coordinating answer submission through text message, e-mail, and by postal mail, and grading the results.
  • Developing a tracking system for student scores, and using this system to both monitor student progress and track the overall effectiveness of the program.
  • Organizing the creation and mailing of prizes.
  • Supporting our other work in the BEAM office.

While we are especially seeking someone to run the creation of challenge sets, we will customize other responsibilities to your particular skill set. As a part of our office staff, you will also have the opportunity to work with our older students, assist with admissions, or help out the program in other ways, depending on your time availability.


Above all, we're looking for people who make things happen and who do it well, who love working with kids, who work well independently, and who are devoted to the work that we do. It is much more important to us that we hire someone with the right approach than someone with a particular background.

That said, we expect that anyone who is ready for this role will have:

  • Experience with math contests or similar problems,
  • Extremely strong writing skills, especially crafting prose that is engaging, precise, and appropriate for younger children,
  • Experience with sophisticated mathematical reasoning,
  • Good mathematical "taste" for engaging and deep problems,
  • Someone who is organized and able to develop a project on their own,
  • Strong computer fluency, and
  • A real dedication to helping each of our students.

Significant pluses may include:

  • Experience writing contest-style problems.
  • Experience with underserved students.
  • Experience with enrichment activities such as math circles or math contests.
  • Fluency in Spanish or other languages spoken by many of our families (such as Arabic or Mandarin).
  • More advanced mathematical training. 

Autonomy is an important part of working at BEAM; we're looking for someone who can take a project and run with it, seeking feedback when needed but without the need for constant guidance.

Salary, Benefits, and Other Details

Salary will be between $40,000 and $50,000 per year, depending on experience and qualifications. BEAM provides a number of benefits, including health, dental, and vision; pre-tax commuter benefits; and discounted health club membership.

We provide 8 paid holidays and an additional 15 days of paid time off (which includes both vacation and sick days; we do not distinguish between the two). Paid time off will increase by one day for each year worked for your first five years of employment.

One unique aspect of our organization is our highly-flexible work policies. Time off is very flexible and it is easy to work from home so long as you are keeping up with your responsibilities. Many of us shift our work times (doing work on evenings or weekends) to gain the flexibility to adjust our work hours during the day to take extra time for appointments or errands.

As an organization, we are dedicated to the growth of our staff members. We will pay for training to supplement your skills when appropriate, and we encourage all of our staff to learn from each other. (We are, after all, an education organization!)

In general, we are all very dedicated but also very relaxed, and we care deeply that the work environment is pleasant for everyone.

The start date is flexible, and we will begin the program after we've found the right person to lead it.

Application Process

To apply, please e-mail us a cover letter and resumé. We would also appreciate it if you can include an example of a favorite math problem appropriate for students around age 9-11. You are welcome to simply link us to an online resource. (Please don't spend significant time preparing this. We only want a sense of your mathematical taste!)

We believe in the importance of demonstrated ability and work samples. Approximately 3-4 applicants will be chosen for the second stage, where we will ask you to complete sample projects to show us your work. From there, some applicants will proceed to an interview which will be the final step of the hiring process. We work hard to recognize the time you put into the process and we won't load you down with any useless bureaucracy.

We will accept applications on a rolling basis until the position is filled.


We believe strongly in communication and collaboration. In the spirit of that collaborative atmosphere, we strongly encourage you to ask questions about the position!

We're very excited that you're interested in the program. Thank you for applying to BEAM.

The Entire Staff at BEAM