Alumni Events

Winter Party 2017: Ugly Sweater Edition

As 2017 comes to an end, BEAM really appreciates the moments we spend with our students before another year begins. Each year, we invite all BEAM alumni to a Winter/Holiday party where students get to mix and mingle, listen to music, play board games, take pictures and enjoy some food. This year we made our party an Ugly Sweater Party with a competition judged by BEAM students. Take a look at the Ugliest sweaters you can imagine!

Semi-finalists for the Ugly Sweater Competition were: Luz, Elijah, Michelle, Mariam, Deja, Vielka and Thays.
The top three finalists were: Michelle, Mariam and Thays.
And the winner was: Thays -- with her "Merry Chris-MATH" sweater! All students took home BEAM swag as prizes. 

In addition to the Ugly Sweater segment of our party, students played games like: Set, Dominion, Settlers of Catan, Swish and Uno. They also took a stab at solving some logic and math puzzles and received cool BEAM swag if they solved them. Students took fun holiday pictures at the photo booth and enjoyed some yummy Chinese food. Overall, it was a great afternoon spent with some awesome teenagers! Check out some great moments below!

Fatimatou speaks about her high school/college experience

Fatimatou attended BEAM 7 in the summer of 2011, as part of BEAM's very first cohort. Six years later she's a sophomore at Manhattan College with a Dean's scholarship, planning on attending medical school. On Saturday, December 2, she came to speak to BEAM's current 9th and 10th grade students about her experience in high school and college.

Fatimatou, Diamond, and Ilearys at BEAM in the summer of 2011

Fatimatou, Diamond, and Ilearys at BEAM in the summer of 2011

Fatimatou attended the Bronx Academy of Health Careers for high school, and says that it did not prepare her for college. "Since I had taken Algebra I before high school, I started with geometry. But once I finished Algebra II, I was taking the same math class every year because they didn't have anything more."

Since her high school offered limited classes, Fatimatou took advantage of every extra-curricular she could, including College Now and a summer program in math at Texas State University.

Starting college was a difficult transition, even with her extracurricular work. "In high school, I would start assignments the day they were due, or the day before, and get a good grade. In college, that doesn't work." Her advice? "Write down your assignments in a calendar, and give yourself early deadlines. Always know something about the topic before you go to class, even if that's from watching a YouTube video. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Go to your professor's office hours."

Fatimatou speaking to BEAM's students on Dec. 2, 2017

Fatimatou speaking to BEAM's students on Dec. 2, 2017

BEAM's high school students had questions about balancing work and a social life, paying for school, and college admissions. Fatimatou's perspective was extremely helpful, because of all the challenges she faced. BEAM hopes the Saturday program helps our current 9th and 10th grade students have an even smoother transition to college!


BEAM Students Visit Columbia with Inside Engineering

On Saturday, October 21st, 21 BEAM 9th and 10th grade students visited Columbia University. Dr. Clark Hung, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia, met the students in the undergraduate biomedical engineering lab, and gave a half hour presentation on diabetes. He discussed both the causes of diabetes, as well as some current treatments and areas of research.


After the the talk, the students had the chance to do some hands-on work. They made alginate beads by dropping alginate solution into calcium choloride solutions. They tested different sizes of needles to make different sized beads. These beads could be used to encapsulate cells for diabetes treatment. 

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Everyone had fun making lots of multicolored beads.

Alginate beads

BEAM would like to thank the Hung Lab and Columbia's engineering outreach for organizing an amazing experience.


NYC High School Admissions: Conquering the Labyrinth

Last weekend, thousands of eighth graders lined up outside of Brooklyn Technical High School to attend the New York City High School Fair. Students and parents had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the high school admissions process and meet with representatives from high schools all over the city in hopes of finding the right ones to apply to.

It is no secret that the NYC high school admissions process is a maze! The application process has many obstacles to get through, some of which include: taking a test, writing an essay, submitting a portfolio, attending an open house and more - just to be considered! Without navigating through these obstacles, the chances of getting in to a great-fit high school are real hard. For BEAM students, a great-ft school is one that offers advanced coursework such as AP Physics and AP Calculus, the opportunity to take college courses, a supportive and nurturing environment and the opportunity for college guidance and readiness. 

Here are some common "big-picture" errors students make on their high school application (Round 1 form):

  • Not doing enough research. It's important that students do their research on each school they are interested in. Many high ranking schools require tests (like the specialized high schools), essays (like Manhattan/Hunter Science HS), portfolios (like Columbia Secondary HS), or a mixture of these (Bard High School/Early College, BHSEC). Do your research early so that you can be ahead of the game and have a plan to get all these things done on time. Go on school's websites, visit, or call the school directly. 
  • Be sure to know which schools are "limited unscreen." Limited unscreen schools are schools that only look at your attendance at an open house. They are a good opportunity to get a fresh start if your transcript is rocky. Open house dates are available online, usually on a school's website. Sometimes you might have to call a school directly and get information that way. Also, attending open houses allow you the opportunity to see if you can actually envision yourself in the school for four years. 
  • Look at the requirements of "screened" schools. A screened school is one that looks at your transcript - this includes: 7th grade grades, state test scores and attendance and punctuality. You want to make sure that you are applying to schools that you have a good chance of getting in to. When looking at schools that you are interested in, make sure grade ranges and state test scores match your transcript. If you have too many absences but have a legitimate reason (ie: medical, or family issues) don't hesitate to write the school a letter. Schools understand that life happens, and being honest and up front is the right thing to do. 
  • Rank schools in the order YOU want to go to them. Schools cannot see how you rank them. Some schools may tell you that you have to rank them #1 in order to be accepted - that is false information! Seriously, rank the schools in the order you want. Ultimately, you will be spending four years there. 
  • Know what a good schools has to offer YOU. Make sure the schools you are looking for have what you need in order to be successful. For most BEAM students this means: AP Calculus and AP sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics). For others it might be a great Lacrosse or Basketball team or the opportunity to join a Robotics or Debate club. Remember that you will spend almost half of your day in this school - make sure the school has things that you will benefit from and enjoy. 

Here are some small logistical things to watch out for:

  • Double and triple check your Round 1 form! Make sure codes and school names match. If they don't, your guidance counselor might not catch it and you may end up being accepted in to the wrong school. 
  • Use all 12 spaces. Make sure you completely fill out your Round 1 form. It is better to get in to a Round 1 school (even LOW on your list) than to have no school and be stuck in Round 2. 
  • Remember that some schools may count twice. For example, the Manhattan and Queens campuses of BHSEC or the multiple programs at Midwood. If you really want to go to these schools, use two spaces on your Round 1 form to put both programs down. Not only do you take up two spaces on your form, but you increase your chances of being admitted. Some of our alumni have even had luck transferring from programs in their first or second year in the school. 

Hear what our experts have to say about their high school admissions process!

“BEAM showed me my options. They provided me with personalized school directories which led me to search for best-fit schools, on my own.”
— Iroha, 10th grader, Manhattan Center for Science and Math
I went to the Citywide High School Fair with BEAM. They taught me how to shake hands and introduce myself. While there, I talked with the Assistant Principal of the Academy for Software Engineering (AFSE). I really liked her and the school, so I went to an Open House to learn more. I ended up ranking it first and got in.
— Mona, 12th grader, Academy for Software Engineering

For more general information, go here:

In Their Words: Our 12th graders reflect back on five years with BEAM

This June, we gathered 12 BEAM 12th graders to reflect on their five years with BEAM. Over dinner, we talked about college, and Fatimatou (BEAM 2011) offered advice from her first year of college. Students were presented with college tshirts to celebrate their next step!

We asked these 12 students and another 10 who weren't able to make it about their memories from BEAM 7 back in 2012 and how BEAM helped prepare them for college. Here are some of their words:

My strongest memory of BEAM was the talent show. I started crying 3/4s of the way into it as I realized that after this BEAM would end and I’d have to go back home. BEAM introduced me to ultimate frisbee, foosball, Settlers of Catan, and Pascal’s Triangle. The math that we were introduced to was fun and completely different from what I’d encountered at my middle school. The math I’d been taught felt stiff and rigid in structure while the math taught at BEAM felt liquid; it almost had a flow to it. BEAM math was satisfying to complete. The math relays at the end of each week were also really fun. I remember excitedly dashing across the room to give my answers in and scribbling down equations and numbers as fast as I and my brain could manage. It felt good to see everyone together.
— Amy, headed to Fordham University
BEAM was one of the first steps towards me developing skills that would assist me in learning when living away from home. The work ethic imposed upon us to struggle through a BEAM problem set together later helped me in boarding school when I ended up struggling again. I learned how to stick with a problem even when the end was not clearly in sight. I also learned ways to think outside the box and look at a problem through unique lens. Furthermore, BEAM helped me a lot in my search for college. Oftentimes, I returned to BEAM to talk about college, how my classes were going, and life at boarding school. BEAM was an important support system all throughout my high school career.
— Joel, headed to Wesleyan University
I loved and still love learning. It was an amazing experience to be around people that were like me, who had the same nerdy interests. BEAM allowed me to not only fully embrace learning but also gave me a small college experience that I loved. And even after! I’m so grateful for the amount of support and experience BEAM gave me. I learned to be more ambitious with my goals which ultimately paved the way for summer programs at MIT and more.
— Nicole, headed to NYU
BEAM had allowed me to be familiar with difficult math than I had encountered in my early college classes. My strongest memory of BEAM 7 is when we all went out to look at the stars with councelors. As a 12th grader, I received lots of help from Dan and Ruthi, allowing me to determine which college was best for me.
— Quentin, headed to Ithaca College
Living on a college campus taught me what I want from a college. And of course, BEAM helped me find out more about the college process and be ahead of the game when it came to applying.
— Angelina, headed to University of Rochester
BEAM connected me with advanced math and connected me with Bard High School Early College, which is a great school that has given me a great work ethic and time management skills. This will be my second summer working at BEAM 6, which was a job when I needed one, but also an opportunity to mold young minds and connect them to higher math.
— John, headed to Fordham University
BEAM prepared me for college, because I got to live on a college campus and befriend people who I least expected. I learned it’s ok to question someone else’s answer. My strongest memory of BEAM is when I proved Dan wrong on a math problem.
— Jamila, headed to Howard University
BEAM has connected me with summer programs to have the most impactful summers of my life. Thanks to BEAM, I attended Mathworks Honors Summer Math Camp at Texas State.
— Abdoulaye, headed to George Washington University
Staying on a college campus changed my decision about going to college from maybe to definitely. BEAM showed me the rigor of college level work and taught me how to work hard and to balance school life with social life.
— Nicy, headed to University of Bridgeport
BEAM made me love the college life. I’m excited to meet new people and have awesome experiences in college. Also, thanks to BEAM, I skipped two grades of math while in high school!
— Gustavo, headed to Brooklyn College
BEAM 2012 along with BEAM Founder and Art of Problem Solving Initiative Executive Director Daniel Zaharopol  Back Row: Kiara (Lehigh University), Kiara (John Jay College), Joel (Wesleyan University), Quentin (Ithaca College), Angelina (University of Rochester), Derek (Colby College), Dominic (Pace University) Front Row: Ana (Barnard College), John (Fordham University), Jahdel (City Tech) Not Pictured: Abdel (New York University), Abdoulaye (George Washington University), Amy (Fordham University), Emalee (Hunter College), Greiny (SUNY Geneseo), Gustavo (Brooklyn College), Isaiah (SUNY Potsdam), Jamila (Howard University), Loquan (SUNY Albany), Nathaniel (Bronx Community College), Nicole (New York University), Shaunicia (University of Bridgeport), Salimatou (Baruch College), Stephanie (SUNY Plattsburgh), Taylor (Allegheny College), Zereena (SUNY Binghamton)

BEAM 2012 along with BEAM Founder and Art of Problem Solving Initiative Executive Director Daniel Zaharopol
Back Row: Kiara (Lehigh University), Kiara (John Jay College), Joel (Wesleyan University), Quentin (Ithaca College), Angelina (University of Rochester), Derek (Colby College), Dominic (Pace University)
Front Row: Ana (Barnard College), John (Fordham University), Jahdel (City Tech)
Not Pictured: Abdel (New York University), Abdoulaye (George Washington University), Amy (Fordham University), Emalee (Hunter College), Greiny (SUNY Geneseo), Gustavo (Brooklyn College), Isaiah (SUNY Potsdam), Jamila (Howard University), Loquan (SUNY Albany), Nathaniel (Bronx Community College), Nicole (New York University), Shaunicia (University of Bridgeport), Salimatou (Baruch College), Stephanie (SUNY Plattsburgh), Taylor (Allegheny College), Zereena (SUNY Binghamton)

"End of the Year" BEAM Spring Party 2017

Each year, BEAM invites all of their alumni to come together and celebrate the end of a successful school year. It's always great to see our alumni, play board games with them, and celebrate their accomplishments!

This year we added some cool stuff to our Spring partying! We had the return of the photo booth, some fun math puzzles (with prizes for those who completed them), a modular origami station, food including amazing Jollof rice made by Chuka's mother, and some piano playing. 

Modular Origami

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Board Games

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Photo Booth

Math puzzles


We even had time to show off some of our talents. Pictured here is Mariam (8th grader) singing and Laura (BEAM staff member) playing the piano. Needless to say, we had an amazing time!


BEAM goes to the World Science Festival!

On Sunday June 4th, BEAM students got to tour real science labs! They learned about the human skeleton from a biological anthropologist and got to use real lab equipment to inject DNA in a biomedical chemistry lab.

The event started with an introduction and Q&A session with two undergraduate students from NYU who were involved in the group Women in Science. These women shared with us how they had developed into seeing themselves as scientists, as well as how important they felt it was to do research in their undergraduate studies.

Next we moved onto the lab tours. The first stop was at the Center for the Study of Human Origins, where a scientist with a PhD in Biological Anthropology taught us about the evolution of the genus Homo, variation, and the evolution of phenotypic covariation.

The second and final stop was in the Biomedical Chemistry Institute. There, a scientist with a PhD in Professor Lara Mahal’s lab had the students test out their lab skills by injecting DNA samples into a gel.

Students learned how changes in sugar levels in our cells can help us screen for cancer!

After the samples had processed, students returned to the lab to analyze the DNA samples.

Overall, it was a fun and educational Sunday for everyone!

Beginning to Navigate the College Admissions Process

When is the right time for 11th graders to begin preparing for college?


A year from now our current 11th grade students will know what college they will be attending in Fall 2018! How do they begin this journey?

On Thursday, May 11th, a group of our 11th graders joined BEAM at our first annual BEAM College Kickoff! They learned about what the College Admissions process is like and what they should be doing now in order to best prepare for the admissions craziness in September. We went through best practices of the application process and created a timeline of what should be done, from now until May 1, 2018, in order to maximize their chances of being admitted in to the most selective and prestigious colleges and universities. Our 11th graders are ambitious and excited to begin embarking on this journey to college. And we are here to guide them every step of the way!

In attendance were: Aisha, Aishat, Crisleidy, Emily, Mona, William and Vielka. See pictures from the event below and a small blurb about their journey to 11th grade and what their future plans include. 


Pictured here is Crisleidy. For two years she attended The Center for Talented Youth (CTY) and this summer she is attending the University of New Hampshire's Project Smart program, where she will spend five weeks studying space science! We intend to nominate her for Posse Scholars.  


Pictured here are: Emily and Crisleidy. Emily is the older sister of one of our BEAM 6 alumni who is attending BEAM 7 this summer! Though she is not interested in pursuing math, she plans to study criminal justice in college and wants to attend John Jay. 


Pictured here are Aishat and Vielka.

Vielka is an environmental science major at Brooklyn Tech and this summer, along with Crisleidy, she will be at UNH's Project Smart program studying environmental science. Vielka also loves Chemistry!


Aishat has attended summer programs at the University of Maryland and Brown University. This year she will be in France studying French culture. Aishat is currently taking Honors IB Math. 


Pictured here is Aisha. Aisha attends Manhattan Center for Science and Math and is currently taking AP Physics C and AP Calculus BC! She is a member of Minds Matters and attends their programs every summer. This summer, though, she will be in Spain working at a maker space!


Pictured here is Mona. She attends the Academy for Software Engineering where she has been connected to many computer programming related opportunities. Last summer she interned at Morgan Stanley in their Cyber Security department. This summer she is applying to work at BEAM 6! Mona is very interested in attending Barnard for college. 


Pictured here is William. William attends Bard High School Early College and is very interested in pursuing Law in his future. He was a Junior Counselor at BEAM 6 last year. He plans to attend college in New York City because he hates bugs and nature! (But that didn't stop him from having a great time at Bard College during his BEAM 7 summer.)


In late August, BEAM runs a week long College Prep program for our rising 12th graders. Students will get individualized assistance with college essays, supplemental essays, FAFSA (financial aid), and so much more! We hope to see many of our (soon-to-be) 12th graders there. 

They're off to college! Congrats to BEAM 12th Graders

BEAM 2012

Five years ago, these students were 7th graders heading to BEAM for the first time. Today, they are 12th graders who are one month away from high school graduation!

While we haven't yet heard back from all 38 BEAM alumni, we want to take a minute to congratulate these students on their admissions results!  

  • Abdel: New York University

  • Abdoulaye: George Washington University

  • Amy: Fordham University

  • Ana: Barnard College

  • Angelina: University of Rochester

  • Ashlee: SUNY Albany

  • Derek: Colby College

  • Dominic: Pace University

  • Emalee: Hunter College (CUNY)

  • Greiny: SUNY Geneseo

  • Gustavo: Brooklyn College (CUNY)

  • Isaiah: SUNY Potsdam

  • Jahdel: City Tech

  • Jamila: Howard University

  • Joel: Wesleyan University

  • John: Fordham University

  • Kiara D: Lehigh University

  • Kiara J: John Jay College

  • Loquan: SUNY Albany

  • Nathaniel: Bronx Community College

  • Nicole: New York University

  • Quentin: Ithaca College

  • Salimatou: Baruch College (CUNY)

  • Shaunicia: University of Bridgeport

  • Stephanie: SUNY Plattsburgh

  • Taylor: Allegheny College

  • Zereena: SUNY Binghamton

Check back on this post throughout the spring: college decisions will be added as we hear back!

BEAM 7 Welcome Lunch: hear from our alumni!

How has BEAM helped you grow?

Before the summer, we invite students and their families to learn more about the program. After a presentation about BEAM, we turn the day over to our alumni, who are the highlight of the event!

Here are some of the quotes from our alumni at family lunches this April!

Question: How did you feel about going to a math summer program?

I was a little scared at first to do all math, but was nice to be around people who also loved math. Being at college gave me independence.
— Ariel, 11th grade, Midwood High School at Brooklyn College
I was so full of wonder being on campus with trees and open space. I was really excited to take college classes. I bragged to friends at home about it.
— Angelina, 12th grade, East Side Community High School

Question: Were you excited to go to BEAM before it started? Or were any of you forced to go by your parents?

I was forced to go, but BEAM quickly felt like a second home and didn’t want to leave. I love to reminisce with other BEAM students at my high school.
— Rashik, 10th grade, Bard High School Early College
I was excited to go to BEAM. Math was boring for me in seventh grade and I was glad to work on math I had never seen before.
— Malachi, 11th grade, Brooklyn Technical High School
I was forced to go by my mom, but I’m glad I was. The program was much more fun than I expected.
— Gabe, 8th grade, Great Oaks Charter School

Question: How did BEAM help you after the summer?

BEAM helped me apply and attend math programs every summer after BEAM: MathPath in 2014 and Mathworks Honors Summer Math Camp at Texas State in 2015, 2016, & 2017. BEAM has helped me study for the SHSAT, the SAT, the SAT Subject Tests, and a whole lot more. [BEAM] does a lot actually... they have everything. You just need to talk to them and ask for help.
— Malachi, 11th grade, Brooklyn Technical High School
After BEAM 7, they helped me go to the Center for Talented Youth, where I took engineering classes for two summers, and now I do clubs at school like robotics.
— Mayra, 10th grade, University Heights High School

7th graders! Welcome to BEAM. We're so excited to see where BEAM can take you.