Welcome BEAM Bard 2018!


As always, this time of the year is highly anticipated by not only prospective students but also by instructors. As the BEAM staff made their way to Bryant Park on this July 7th, excitement seized every face. We could not wait to meet or be reunited with the young intellects who have decided to explore their curiosity for Math by attending BEAM 2018. 

 BEAM students getting to know staff and each other. 

BEAM students getting to know staff and each other. 

While parents signed forms and students found their road buddies, the BEAM students embarked on the new journey to Bard College. Upon their safe arrival at their new home, the faces that once seemed too nervous to separate from families members now experienced a form of joy that stemmed from the new friendships made on the road. 

 BEAM students on swing outside Student Center.

BEAM students on swing outside Student Center.

Before the grand tour of the school's campus and their classrooms, students were first brought to the new home now known as Keen. As bags were being rolled in dorms and students met their remaining staff, this experience became more realistic to most. After the kids had settled in, they were given a tour of their beautiful campus and they enjoyed the community's swing.

After that, we headed to what seems to be one of our most liked places on campus--- the dining room. After a few countless bowls of vegetables, fruits, and desserts, we headed back to the dorms for the preparation of next day's evening activities. 

As the sun settled down and eyes became wearier, BEAM students headed to bed with the intentions of resting for their full first day.

Here are all 40 of our students upon arrival to campus! We're sure this is going to be an amazing summer. 

Move-In Day

Day 0: Welcome to BEAM! Our seventh graders moved into Union College’s Richmond dormitory last Sunday, July 8. The day was jam-packed with fun activities as the kids unpacked and got to know each other.

We first met up with them at Bryant Park. The counselors and staff members took small groups to lunch. We began to get to know the kids as they ate and socialized with each other and us.

 Staff at Bryant Park. 

Staff at Bryant Park. 

After lunch, we boarded the bus to drive up to Schenectady. The ride was long, but many of us talked the whole way back. You could feel the excitement on board!

We arrived on campus around 4:00. We unpacked and toured the dorms and the campus itself. After a nice dinner in the cafeteria, the counselors and kids met to go over a few rules before the kids got ready for bed before their 10:45 lights-out time.

Here are all 40 of our students upon arrival to campus!  We're sure this is going to be an amazing summer. 

What do 6th graders love about BEAM? Open Math Time!

With BEAM 6 Los Angeles' first two weeks in the book, we thought we'd take a minute to talk about one of the students' favorite parts of the day: Open Math Time! Every day at BEAM 6 includes four hours of academics: two hours of class and two hours of Open Math Time (OMT). During OMT, students choose from a menu of options, or propose their own work. They can do basically anything mathematical! Students can work individually or in groups; as long as the time is productive, any arrangement is fair game! OMT exists for a number of reasons:

 Zavier (BEAM '11), right, supports students in a BEAM 6 LA classroom.  

Zavier (BEAM '11), right, supports students in a BEAM 6 LA classroom.  

  •  BEAM classes don't assign homework, because it just doesn't seem right for a summer program! But, it's important to practice new ideas to really learn them. So, students use some of their OMT for short, required Problem Sets (PSets) from each class. 
  • BEAM believes in flexibility and choice. We want students to build the best possible summer for themselves!
  • Middle schoolers are learning a lot about themselves. Students may never have been given the flexibility to choose their groupings or tasks. This is a huge opportunity for growth. 
  • Strong mathematicians become stronger by spending more time on math. By sharing with students the joy of self-paced, self-directed learning, we give students the tools they need to challenge themselves to learn independently. 

Ever since our first summer of BEAM 6, students have raved about OMT. It becomes many students' favorite part of the day. And our BEAM 6 LA 2018 students are no different!  Here are some reviews from our early program survey:

As you can see from the check boxes. students have a suggested menu of options for how to spend their OMT. Most students chose the following options:

PSets From Class

Every member of the faculty gives students about 15 minutes worth of extra work at the end of each class in the form of problem sets. Problem sets (PSets) are designed to help students practice and solidify new skills, extend understanding, and explore curiosity. For example, a student in a KenKen class might solve a more challenging puzzle, while a student learning to program in Python might add a new command to the program they're writing. Students working on PSets can head to their teacher's classroom to chat about the work and ask for support. 

Want a flavor of a PSet? Here are some sample problems from two of our classes:

Exponents: The Super-Powers of Numbers 

Find a number with five or more digits that is 7 in Z11 (in other words, it has a remainder of 7 when divided by 11).

Voting: How to Run a Country

A group of 4 friends want to do the same activity during activity time.  Their options are to do any of the following: soccer (S), drama (D), frisbee (F), board games (B), or painting (P) and they decide to use Borda Count to decide the activity they should do.  Consider the table of preferences below:

Borda.jpg

a) 5 points are assigned to a 1st place vote, 4 points to a 2nd place vote etc.  What activity is the Borda count winner in this instance? (Make sure to give the Borda scores to justify your answer).

b) Is it possible for only one person to changing their ranking (in any way) so that painting is the only Borda count winner? If so, give the person and their new ranking and the new Borda counts of each alternative.  If it is not possible, thoroughly explain why it is not possible.

100 Problem Challenge

 Students work on a problem during OMT with their counselor Paula, right under the 100 problem board. 

Students work on a problem during OMT with their counselor Paula, right under the 100 problem board. 

This is exactly what it sounds like: a hundred problems selected by Dan Zaharopol (BEAM Founder and the Executive Diretor of the Art of Problem Solving Initiative, Inc.) to challenge the students mathematically and bring them just to the edge of mathematical proof. There’s a big board with 100 spaces for the 100 problems, and we write in the names of students who’ve completed problems. If all 100 are solved before the end of week 5, the entire program wins a prize!

Try out a sample problem for yourself:

Problem  1

A friend tells me that she has three children, and that if you multiply their three ages you get 72.  “I don’t have enough information to figure out how old they are!” I reply.

“All right,” she says, “if you add their ages, you get the street number from my address.”

I know where she lives, so I do some calculations.  “I still don’t know how old they are!” I reply.

“Well,” she replies, “the oldest is really good at chess.”

Now I know how old they are.  How old are her children, and what is her street address?

 The state of the 100 problem challenge at the end of week 1. 

The state of the 100 problem challenge at the end of week 1. 

Art of Problem Solving/Alcumus

 Students, hard at work!

Students, hard at work!

Another major goal of BEAM is that our students (new to enrichment math) have access to the same resources and opportunities that other middle schoolers all over the country already have! So, we connect them all with accounts for the Art of Problem Solving (AoPS), and encourage students to start with Alcumus. Alcumus is a free, self-paced tool that works students through math skills, starting at pre-algebra. It's fun and it's something students can use for years to come!

Becoming familiar with AoPS and Alcumus know will have major benefits to BEAM 6 alums during 7th grade, as AoPS offers a free, online pre-algebra course to any BEAM 6 alum who completes the Alcumus pre-work to demonstrate to BEAM that they plan to take the course seriously. And as our students age, we sign individual students up for AoPS classes whenever they need an enrichment boost, and are looking to challenge themselves (the combinatorics and number theory classes are a particular hit!). 

We're so glad students are enjoying OMT and the rest of BEAM 6. It's clear that BEAM 6 Los Angeles is off to an incredible start!  Want to read more? Check out what our own Executive Director, Dan Zaharopol, had to say on his blog:

Wow! Gabriel can cube!!

About 50 weeks ago, Gabriel (center, below) showed up at BEAM 7 Union College and met Yi Ling (right, below). Yi Ling loves to cube (solve a Rubik's cube) so she taught Gabriel (and others) on the first night.Last summer, Yi Ling actually performed in the Talent Show: solving two cubes as fast as she could

Gabriel learns to cube

The picture above shows Gabriel and his first cubing accomplishment: solving one face of the cube. All summer, Gabriel practiced in spare moments, including almost every night during evening free time. He went back home and kept it up. Eventually, he got good enough that he signed up for the New York City Spring 2018 Cubing Competition through the World Cubing Association. His average cubing time was 18.91 seconds, and his single best time was 14.25 seconds!

Gabriel even posted a video of that record time. Check it out:

Amazing, Gabriel. We just think it's so cool that you picked this skill and did the work to become an expert!

A Day in the Life of BEAM 6

It's Friday which means we are nearly 20% of the way finished with BEAM 6 Los Angeles 2018. Where did the time go??

So, what is a week like at BEAM 6? Each day features:

  • Breakfast
  • Morning class
  • Open Math Time
  • Activities
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon class
  • Open Math Time
  • Activities

Let's dig deep on each of those blocks! 

The day begins with a balanced breakfast, served a la carte in the cafeteria. 

DSC00015 cropped.jpg

Academics

Then, it's off to class!  Students at BEAM take four classes, one each in the following tracks: Logical Reasoning, Math Fundamentals, Math Team Strategies, and Applied Math. At the beginning of the summer, students selected which version of each class they wanted to take. Their options were:

DSC00305 cropped.jpg
  • Logical Reasoning:
    • KenKen Puzzles and More
    • Ultimate Brain Puzzles!
    • Elementary, My Dear!
    • Liars, Truthtellers, and More
  • Math Fundamentals:
    • Fractions and Food
    • Exponents: the Super-Powers of Numbers
    • Patterns, Lines, and Number Rules
  • Applied Math:
    • Introduction to Cryptography
    • Voting: How to Run a Country
    • Computer Programming
  • Math Team Strategies:
    • Using Patterns to Solve Problems
    • Counting Without Counting and Fantastic (Number) Beasts
    • Words, Meet Numbers: An Algebra Story

    Don't those sound fun? How did students choose?? Each instructor gave a course description and a sample problem! Here's one set to consider!

    Elementary, My Dear!

    DSC00309.JPG

    Course Description:

    Ever wonder how detectives like Sherlock Holmes solve complicated mysteries? It's all in the details. In this class we'll explore the different techniques used to solve complicated riddles and how to apply them in tough mathematical problems.

    Sample problem:

    Mr. Red, Mr. Blue, and Mr. White meet at a restaurant for lunch. Under their coats they are wearing either a red, blue, or white shirt. Mr. Blue says, “Hey, did you notice we are all wearing different colored shirts from our names?” The man wearing the white shirt says, “Wow, Mr. Blue, that’s right.” Can you tell who is wearing what color shirt?

    Open Math Time

    One of the big goals of BEAM is that students spend time doing math they enjoy! So, during Open Math Time, students get a menu of options they can pursue. We encourage students to keep going back to this menu of options during 7th grade, whenever they're looking for a challenge!  During Open Math Time, students might:

    • Reinforce learning from their classes with Problem Sets  
    • Try out the weekly challenge problem
    • Work on the 100 Problem Challenge (more on that later!)
    • Explore the Art of Problem Solving, probably by checking out Alcumus

    Students can work independently, or in groups!  It's really up to what makes each student the most productive. 

    Students Learn Blokus

    Activities

    Morning activities last for the whole week! They're a time to learn new skills or spend a whole week on a passion. This week's options are:

    • Board Games: Old classics and new! 
    • Decorate Your Binder 
    • Watch the World Cup: Watch live and old soccer games!  
    • Learn to Solve A Rubik’s Cube
    • Rooftop FUN: Steal The Bacon and Sharky Sharky 
    • Learn to Play Settlers: A trading and building board game set in the mythical world of Catan!
    • Learn Dominion: A strategy card game where each time you play it’s different! 

    Afternoon

    Then, it's on to lunch (buffet catering from local restaurants), the next class, the next block of Open Math Time, and afternoon activities, which change every day. 

    All in all, it's a busy, exciting day, and we'll have much more to share over the upcoming weeks!

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    BEAM's Pre-Summer Newsletter is Here!

    Last Friday, BEAM's quarterly newsletter arrived in the inboxes of all our subscribers! The newsletter featured:

    • An update on BEAM's growth (380 students at BEAM programs this summer!)
    • Congratulations to our 12th graders on their college plans
    • "What We're Reading"
    • Updates on BEAM Los Angeles

    Missed the newsletter?  You can always read it online.  And make sure you don't miss the next one!  Sign up for our mailing list. 

    12th Grade Graduation Party!

    Five years goes by so fast! This Saturday, we gathered together to celebrate the BEAM 7 cohort of 2013 who graduate high school this month!

     BEAM staffer Lynn hands Eli their Howard sweatshirt. 

    BEAM staffer Lynn hands Eli their Howard sweatshirt. 

    The evening kicked off with a ceremony to hand our college swag to the students in attendance. This was followed by dinner followed by two presentations.

    First, BEAM staffer Ayinde announced the launch of "BEAM Through College", a new initiative to support students through college, handling topics that may include how to choose classes, how to build relationships with professors, how to declare a major, how to land an internship, and more! Students will also have monthly reminders to, for example, fill out the FAFSA, as well as semesterly check-ins with Ayinde and alumni events during school breaks. The program starts this summer, with advice on what to expect during orientation and how to build a balanced schedule. BEAM Through College will serve these graduating seniors as well as all BEAM alums already in college: the cohorts of 2011, 2012, and 2013. Our aim is that students keep receiving the same tailored, practical advice they have come to expect from BEAM and that they stay on track to finish STEM majors and graduate college. 

     Ayinde and Aisha discuss how to choose classes for your first semester when you're undecided. 

    Ayinde and Aisha discuss how to choose classes for your first semester when you're undecided. 

     Joel attends Wesleyan where he plans to declare a double major in biology and psychology before going on to med school. Angelina attends the University of Rochester where she plans to major in math. 

    Joel attends Wesleyan where he plans to declare a double major in biology and psychology before going on to med school. Angelina attends the University of Rochester where she plans to major in math. 

    Then, Angelina and Joel (BEAM 7 2012) shared their experiences in college and took questions on highs and lows, academic and social. Both talked about learning how to study and realizing that the skills they came in with hadn't prepared them for science classes where your entire grade might be determined by three, big tests. Angelina recommended studying small amounts every day. Joel suggested going to a professor's office hours to better understand exactly what will be on the test. Angelina gave advice on how to find a roommate; Joel suggested the reasons you might prefer a single. They also both talked about resources on campus to turn to when you're confused. 

    After the formal part of the evening was over, students and staff hung out and talked until the building closed. 

    Congratulations, 12th graders! We can't wait to see what great things you do next!!

     Back Row: James (Marines), Samuel (TBD), Vielka (SUNY ESF), Will (Haverford)  Middle Row: Mona (Barnard), Ariel (Brandeis), Aisha (Northwestern), Edson (USC)  Front Row: Crisleidy (City Year), Eli (Howard)  Not Pictured: Abrahan (BMCC), Aishat (Yale), Aleks (Penn State), Alex (Vanderbilt), Andy (CUNY Baruch), Christian (LaGuardia CC), DeVaune (SUNY New Paltz), Henry (UMass Amherst), Janequa (Cornell), LaRoi (Gettysburg), Malachi (SUNY Binghamton), Michael (CUNY City College), Pamela (Smith), Peter (UMBC), Thalyia (CUNY City Tech), Tia (Delaware State). 

    Back Row: James (Marines), Samuel (TBD), Vielka (SUNY ESF), Will (Haverford)

    Middle Row: Mona (Barnard), Ariel (Brandeis), Aisha (Northwestern), Edson (USC)

    Front Row: Crisleidy (City Year), Eli (Howard)

    Not Pictured: Abrahan (BMCC), Aishat (Yale), Aleks (Penn State), Alex (Vanderbilt), Andy (CUNY Baruch), Christian (LaGuardia CC), DeVaune (SUNY New Paltz), Henry (UMass Amherst), Janequa (Cornell), LaRoi (Gettysburg), Malachi (SUNY Binghamton), Michael (CUNY City College), Pamela (Smith), Peter (UMBC), Thalyia (CUNY City Tech), Tia (Delaware State). 

    Advice for Your First Summer at BEAM

    Recently, we sat down with some of our older BEAM students to ask them what advice they would give to new students entering BEAM for the first time.  Here's what they had to say!

     Zavier at All Star Code, 2015. 

    Zavier at All Star Code, 2015. 

    Zavier just finished his sophomore year at SUNY Albany where he has declared a major in computer science and a minor in art. He was a member of BEAM's first ever summer cohort: 2011. He was a Junior Counselor at BEAM 6's first summer (2016) and became of the first two BEAM alumni to work for us as full Counselors in 2017 (counselors must have completed a year of college). In 2018, he's flying to Los Angeles to staff the first summer of BEAM 6 LA. Beyond BEAM, Zavier was a member of the first ever cohort at All Star Code and he has extensive experience in coding, maker spaces, and teaching tech skills. Lots of firsts for Zavier! 

    What should students expect from BEAM?

    Students should expect to be encouraged to learn and be challenged by the questions they're given. They should expect to have people around them willing to help them through problems whether those problems have to do with math or not. Most importantly, students should expect to have a good time. BEAM is where I met some of the good friends I have today and I still look back on that summer remembering some of the fun times that I had.

     Zavier plays tennis at BEAM 7 in 2011. 

    Zavier plays tennis at BEAM 7 in 2011. 

    What advice would you give to a student starting BEAM?   

    The advice that I would give to a student starting BEAM is: don't feel discouraged by hard problems and don't be afraid to ask for help. BEAM helped me realize that as we grow, things become more difficult and problems seem to require more thought. Practicing patience and deeper thinking is all part of the process.

    Why do you keep coming back to BEAM?

    I keep coming back to BEAM because of the supportive staff. BEAM has opened the door to a lot of opportunities for me. They helped me when I was applying to high schools, they helped me when I was looking for summer programs, they helped me apply to college, and they even helped me find a job. It feels good to know that I have people who are always willing to help me out and it motivates me to do my best!

     Zavier teaches Javascript to Elvis at BEAM 6 in 2017. 

    Zavier teaches Javascript to Elvis at BEAM 6 in 2017. 

     Tanasia at College Decision Day, 2018

    Tanasia at College Decision Day, 2018

    Tanasia, 12th grade, will be attending the University of Rochester in the fall where she plans to major in math. She has spent three summers at BEAM, as a 7th grade student in 2013, and then as a Junior Counselor at BEAM 6 in 2016 and 2017. During the school year, she coaches two math teams at BEAM partner middle schools, including one at her own alma mater!

    What should students expect from BEAM?

    The math will be difficult; you won't get it right away. You might even struggle for the first two weeks! But you'll expand how you look at math. You'll make friendships and connections that will last for a long time. It's a new, fun experience. 

    What advice would you give to a student starting BEAM?

    Don't be afraid to ask the staff for help! Also: even with math, the counselors don't know everything. That's normal in math, not to know everything. 

    Why do you keep coming back to BEAM?

    I love to see where the students start and where they end. They evolve as mathematicians and they can solve problems they couldn't do before. It's amazing. 

     Tanasia plays chess with Jack, BEAM 6 (2016)

    Tanasia plays chess with Jack, BEAM 6 (2016)

     John showing his school pride! 

    John showing his school pride! 

    John just finished his freshman year at Fordham University, where he plans to declare a major in chemistry. He is also taking pre-med coursework and aims to be a surgeon. John attended Bard High School Early College and graduated with both a high school diploma and an Associate's Degree. He attended BEAM 7 in 2012, and has contributed to BEAM in so many ways since! He was a junior counselor at BEAM 6 in 2016 and 2017, he is the TA for our 8th grade Algebra class, and he works in the BEAM office as an part-time assistant during the school year. In summer 2018, he and two friends who also attended BEAM 7 in 2012 (Joel and Quentin), will be counselors at BEAM 7 Bard College. They are the first BEAM alumni to go back as staff to the exact same program they attended as students!

    What should students expect from BEAM? 

    I was expecting math all day and not much fun. But you should expect to be in a community of math lovers. For me, the community was the thing. I enjoyed being in a space where everyone loved math, shared my interests. Expect to be in a loving, math community. Expect to be challenged. Expect to make amazing friends you'll keep for a century. Expect to have fun: trips are amazing, the food is good, activities. It's not just math all the time; it's something immersive. 

    What advice would you give to a student starting BEAM?   

    Keep an open mind. It may seem tedious to lose your summer, but you'll have fun. I was afraid the first day. So, be open. Step a little outside your comfort zone. Those might be your friends for the rest of your life. 

     Quentin (left, red cap), John (next to him), and members of the BEAM 7 community in 2012 during a karaoke activity. 

    Quentin (left, red cap), John (next to him), and members of the BEAM 7 community in 2012 during a karaoke activity. 

    When you spent that first summer with us, did you ever think you would end up being such good friends with Quentin?

    He came up to me. I don't remember what he said. But ever since then, we became friends, playing basketball. BEAM helped us stay friends because they introduced us to the same high school. So I've stayed friends with him ever since. Derek, too! I didn't get to know Derek much that summer, but we became friends during high school and we still talk. 

    Why do you keep coming back to BEAM?

    Honestly? I want to stay part of a community that's so supportive, loves math. I want to give back. BEAM helped me move in the direction I'm moving in now. I want to influence the next generation as they figure out their path. It's an amazing program, amazing community that should continue to exist and I want to help that. 

     The BEAM 6 group photo from 2017! Quentin (white jacket) is in the front row and John is all the way in the back. Mona, Zavier, Tanasia, and Rashik are here, too: Mona is in the front, on the left, Zavier is wearing a black cap in the middle on the right, Tanasia is in the middle, near the back, and Rashik is in the center, left with a baseball cap on. 

    The BEAM 6 group photo from 2017! Quentin (white jacket) is in the front row and John is all the way in the back. Mona, Zavier, Tanasia, and Rashik are here, too: Mona is in the front, on the left, Zavier is wearing a black cap in the middle on the right, Tanasia is in the middle, near the back, and Rashik is in the center, left with a baseball cap on. 

     Crisleidy at the Moth City Slam, spring 2018. 

    Crisleidy at the Moth City Slam, spring 2018. 

    Crisleidy is graduating from Brooklyn Tech this June. She's taking a gap year next year, working at City Year (an Americorps program). During the year, she volunteers at BEAM Next, our program for 9th and 10th graders, teaching life skills (like study skills). This summer, she will be a Junior Counselor at BEAM 6 in NYC. 

    What should students expect from BEAM? 

    To step out of your comfort zone. There's a lot of new stuff. I didn't know any math, puzzle, logic games before the summer and then I got really into them. 

    What advice would you give to a student starting BEAM?  

    Learn how to play chess! There's people at the program who know and they'll teach you. Try everything once! There might be something you enjoy. But you don't have to try anything you're not comfortable with. 
     
    Why do you keep coming back to BEAM?

    It's fun. I love the people. A nice community, a family. I can't get enough! Plus, I appreciate all the help I've gotten.

     Crisleidy plays her favorite board game, Ricochet Robots, at BEAM 7 in 2013. 

    Crisleidy plays her favorite board game, Ricochet Robots, at BEAM 7 in 2013. 

     Rashik, volunteer math grading in 2018.

    Rashik, volunteer math grading in 2018.

    Rashik is an 11th grader at Bard High School Early College, which means he's currently dual-enrolled in "Year 1", the first year of his Associate's Degree. Rashik attended BEAM 7 in 2014. He was a Junior Counselor in 2017 and will be returning to that role in summer 2018. During the school year, he coaches math teams at two BEAM partner middle schools. 

    What should students expect from BEAM? 

    I think students should expect it to be an uncomfortable environment at first but once they're in the flow of things they'll love what they're learning and that they're surrounded by people that who also love what they're learning. Also, students should expect work they've never seen before: they may be confused by it, or it might take them longer than their normal math questions.

     Rashik presents the solution to a challenge problem at BEAM 7 in 2014. 

    Rashik presents the solution to a challenge problem at BEAM 7 in 2014. 

    What advice would you give to a student starting BEAM? 

    The most important advice I'd give is that you have to persevere and keep working even when it gets really frustrating. There's no feeling worse than being stuck on a problem forever, but there's also no feeling better than finally solving that problem. In terms of social advice, I'd tell the kids to be themselves. There are other amazing kids at BEAM, so be brave and try to make new friends and have new experiences.

    Why do you keep coming back to BEAM?

    I keep coming back to BEAM partly because I made some amazing friends and that small circle still exists today. But also because the open environment that BEAM has established makes me always feel welcomed; I feel like I can go to them for any problem. I always feel like I have a community outside of school or home that I can go to for help. Plus, BEAM also takes me to Yale every year which is pretty cool. 

     Rashik, Eli, Tanasia, and Andy in January 2018 at our MATHCOUNTS prep event. All four of these high school students coach math teams at our partner middle schools!

    Rashik, Eli, Tanasia, and Andy in January 2018 at our MATHCOUNTS prep event. All four of these high school students coach math teams at our partner middle schools!

     Mona at BEAM College Day, fall 2016. 

    Mona at BEAM College Day, fall 2016. 

    Mona is graduating from the Academy for Software Engineering this June. She'll be attending Barnard College as a HEOP Scholar this fall. She plans to major in mathematics with a computer science concentration. During the year, Mona is the TA for BEAM's Saturday programming class (for 9th and 10th graders). She was also been a Junior Counselor at BEAM 6 in 2017. 

    What should students expect from BEAM? 

    To have a lot of fun. Honestly. You might not expect that. Maybe your parents pushed you to do it. But it's not like school, it's fun. At the same time, expect it to be challenging.

    What advice would you give to a student starting BEAM?  

    Be open minded. Lots of activities you might not be sure about. Don't say: I'm not good at this, I don't want to try it. Check it out!
     
    Why do you keep coming back to BEAM?

    It's a family! It's relationships. The people are easy to talk to, they make you feel comfortable. That sounds cheesy but it's true. 

     Mona (front) with a dozen BEAM students at our annual Slightly Mathy Trivia Night, fall 2017. Crisleidy, John, and Rashik are also pictured!

    Mona (front) with a dozen BEAM students at our annual Slightly Mathy Trivia Night, fall 2017. Crisleidy, John, and Rashik are also pictured!

    BEAM Faculty Doing Great Things: Ben Blum-Smith on Math and Democracy

    Ben with students at Ted
    ben_web.jpg

    Our summer staff do amazing things! Recently, Ben Blum-Smith was named to the Spring 2018 class of TED Residents, which is a chance for big thinkers to workshop and share their big ideas with others. 

    As the culminating experience of the residency, Ben and his fellow residents each gave a TED talk (not online yet!). Ben invited three BEAM students to the talks, both his and the fellow residents, and they had this to say about the experience:

    Attending this talk impacted me on a philosophical, emotional, and most importantly educational level. I met an urban planner, that was cool. I’m into math and politics, so that was cool. And revolutionizing data collection is awesome. I’m very excited about this opportunity. It was awesome.
    — Abrahan, 12th grade
    Abrahan cropped.jpg
    Representation matters a tremendous amount to me and seeing people like me, as well as people from diverse backgrounds, was inspiring. I heard ideas on topics that matter to me, like an imbalance of resources to people of lower income as well as other amazing ideas that I haven’t thought much about.
    The entire show, I visualized myself on stage. I imagined one day being able to give a TED talk myself. This experience has been so inspiring.
    — Camila, 8th grade
    Camila cropped.jpg
    The best way to learn something new is to simply do more of it. Last summer, [at BEAM 7 at Union College,] I went to lecture on voting which was really interesting. Now, I’ve been to both of Ben’s talks on gerrymandering [at TED and at the Museum of Mathematics]. The thing that has helped me get better and be more interested in math is seeing the bigger things that I could do in math or physics once I learn the practical parts. These things can be fun and interesting, and last a long time in my mind.
    — Porter, 8th grade
    Porter Cropped.JPG

    Ben: keep up the incredible work! Thanks so much for inviting BEAM students along for the ride. 

    PS: Keep an eye on the Museum of Mathematics' YouTube page for a link to Ben's longer Math Encounters. 

    Ben Blum-Smith is a teacher and mathematician who is exploring the interface between math and democracy. He also works to broaden access to the field, through organizations such as the Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics and the Bard Prison Initiative.

    College Decision Day: Congratulations BEAM Seniors!

    On Thursday, May 10th, BEAM students joined 12th graders across the city for College Decision Day at the Apollo Theater!  Nine BEAM 12th graders joined 200+ high school seniors from around the city who announced their college plans on stage... at the Apollo Theater!

    We're pleased to announce the schools that the following students will be attending:

    Images from left to right display: Aisha (Northwestern), Malachi (Binghamton), Tanasia (Rochester), Aishat (Yale), Will (Haverford), Henry (UMass Amherst), Ariel (Brandeis), Eli (Howard), Vielka (SUNY ESF), and Abrahan (BMCC). 

    BEAM 11th graders: don't forget that College Kickoff is on Saturday, May 19!  In one year, you too could be on the stage of the Apollo Theater as we cheer for you. 

    The BEAM group at the Apollo Theater for College Decision Day

    In addition to these 10 students, we want to give a shout-out to all our graduating seniors. Here's a list of BEAM students currently ready to announce their college decisions: 

    • Abrahan: Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY
    • Andy: Baruch College, CUNY
    • Aisha: Northwestern University
    • Aishat: Yale University
    • Aleks: Penn State
    • Alex: Vanderbilt
    • Ariel: Brandeis University
    • Christian: LaGuardia Community College, CUNY
    • Edson: University of Southern California 
    • Eli: Howard University
    • Henry: UMass Amherst
    • Janequa: Cornell University 
    • LaRoi: Gettysburg College
    • Malachi: Binghamton University, SUNY
    • Michael: The City College of New York, CUNY
    • Mona: Barnard College
    • Pamela: Smith College
    • Peter: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
    • Tanasia: University of Rochester
    • Thalyia: City Tech, CUNY
    • Tia: Delaware State University 
    • Vielka: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
    • Will: Haverford College

    We also have at least two students taking a gap year: Crisleidy will be working at City Year (an Americorps program) while James will be joining the Marines. Both intend to attend college later. 

    BEAM students were also awarded many scholarships and other forms of financial aid:

    • The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program provides selected students with a full ride to the colleges they plan to attend.  (awarded to Aishat)
    • The Posse Scholars Program provides selected students with a full ride, as well as connections to other students in their area who attend the same college they plan to attend.  (awarded to Ariel)
    • The QuestBridge National College Match Program provides a full ride through college to students who are accepted at one of the program's partnering schools.  (awarded to Will)
    • The Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) provides students from New York who attend a New York private college or university with a scholarship, dedicated advisor, and additional support during their time in college.  (awarded to Mona, Tanasia) 
    • And numerous other students were offered amazing financial aid packages by the college they will attend.  The scholarships provided by Cornell, Gettysburg, Northwestern, Smith, and USC are particularly generous, as these schools meet 100% of demonstrated need. That means that a low-income student can expect to pay nothing for college. In one case, a scholarship was so generous that a student actually gets money back to pay for expenses that may come up, such as flights to and from home at the start and end of each semester!

    Our seniors did an incredible amount of work to get through high school and to this day.  Congratulations to you all! 11th graders: now it's your turn and BEAM is here for you. 

    In addition to all these students going to great colleges, at least one BEAM senior will be taking a productive gap year. Congratulations to Crisleidy who will be working at City Year next year! 

    Finally, for those following along at home, here is a list of the colleges to which BEAM students were admitted this year:

     Andy

    Andy

     Aleks

    Aleks

     Alex

    Alex

     Michael

    Michael

     Mona

    Mona

     Pamela

    Pamela

    Barnard College
    Baruch College, CUNY
    Binghamton University, SUNY
    Brandeis University
    Brooklyn College, CUNY
    The City College of New York, CUNY
    Clarkson University
    The College at Brockport, SUNY
    College of Staten Island, CUNY
    Cornell University
    Delaware State University
    Drexel University
    Duke University
    Emerson College
    Gettysburg College
    Haverford College
    Howard University
    LaGuardia Community College, CUNY
    Lehman College, CUNY
    Macalester College
    Manhattan College
    New York City College of Technology, CUNY
    New York Institute of Technology
    Northwestern University
    Pennsylvania State University
    Pomona College
    Purdue University
    Queens College, CUNY
    Rochester Institute of Technology
    Spelman College
    St. John’s University
    Stony Brook University, SUNY
    SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
    SUNY Geneseo
    SUNY Maritime College
    SUNY New Paltz
    SUNY Oswego
    SUNY Polytechnic Institute
    Swarthmore College
    Syracuse University
    Temple University
    University at Albany, SUNY
    University at Buffalo, SUNY
    University of Connecticut
    University of Kentucky
    University of Massachusetts Amherst
    University of Rochester
    University of Southern California
    University of Virginia
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
    Vanderbilt University
    Vassar College
    Wesleyan University
    Xavier University
    Yale University
     Then: Oh, how time flies!  Students seen here at BEAM 7 in 2013 are going off to college next year!

    Then: Oh, how time flies!  Students seen here at BEAM 7 in 2013 are going off to college next year!

     And now: Aisha, Malachi, Will, Vielka, Henry, Eli, Ariel, Tanasia, and Aishat proudly show off their college t-shirts. 

    And now: Aisha, Malachi, Will, Vielka, Henry, Eli, Ariel, Tanasia, and Aishat proudly show off their college t-shirts. 

    Congratulations!  We are so proud of you all!