Program Coordinator or Program Assistant

Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics (BEAM), a project of the Art of Problem Solving Initiative, Inc., is seeking a Program Coordinator or Program Assistant. You'll be part of a close-knit team helping exceptional young people to achieve their full potential. As Program Coordinator/Assistant, you will support our programming for our middle school and high school students; you will become a summer program leader and learn to direct one of our summer program sites; and you will help support our hiring of over 150 people each summer. You will also be present in the students' lives, providing individual guidance as students seek out new opportunities and navigate middle school, high school, and college. 

About the Program

Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics (BEAM) works to create realistic pathways for students from low-income and historically marginalized communities to become scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and programmers. We believe that math is beautiful, and all students should have access to deep and interesting math; that STEM careers provide a critical gateway to fulfilling, well-paid careers; and that more and more power and influence in society is centered around science and technology, so broader access is even more important. However, the doors to these opportunities are closed because underserved students do not have the same opportunities for advanced study as more privileged peers.

Our program has been running in New York City since 2011 and opened in Los Angeles in 2018. In that time, we’ve developed a model that includes intense academic summer programs for middle school students (following 6th and 7th grade) and year-round support in 8th grade, high school, and college. We believe in investing deeply in our students and supporting them over the long term; our goal is to be there for everything the students need, replicating the same (or better) support that more privileged peers would receive. 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.

With our support, our students have been admitted to top high schools such as Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and Bard High School Early College (with over 50% admitted each year to what we identify as the most exceptional high schools in New York), as well as 90%+ college enrollment with many at top colleges ranging from Yale to Barnard to USC. BEAM students have also gone on to highly selective summer programs for continued enrichment. Also important is that they feel like part of a family with us; many stay in touch and give back, working for us as counselors at our summer programs.

BEAM's work has been featured in the New York Times and the Atlantic. The Times article, in particular, is a good description of the early experience for students. You may also find it helpful to view our annual report.

Your Role and Key Responsibilities

We are a small organization of people who work closely together. 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. We also work to involve all staff in key decisions and build a collaborative environment in program design.

Our goal for your first years with the organization will be to give you a taste of several roles so that you can understand different aspects of our work. Thus, you can expect to wear a number of hats and learn new skills. We strive to give good guidance in your role and we have documentation for most of our programs, so you’ll always have a sense of what needs to be done. At the same time, we encourage and support innovation, and we hope that you’ll contribute new ideas to the program.

Given the nature of our organization, any list of responsibilities will necessarily be incomplete (and evolve over time). However, here are some responsibilities we expect you might take on:

  • Serve during the summer as a Deputy Site Director or Director of Student Life, taking on a leadership role at BEAM’s summer programs.

  • Assist with our hiring processes, especially with counselor hiring where we seek to hire about 100 college student counselors each summer. This will include reading and evaluating applications, conducting interviews, and making decisions about optimal team composition.

  • Develop BEAM’s year-round programs and support students. For example, you might:

    • Coordinate our high school calendar of events and help inform students and families about our programs.

    • Coordinate our drop-in office hours for students.

    • Help run our Saturday classes and programming.

    • Act as a “year leader” to support and engage a particular cohort of BEAM students, maintaining an individual relationship with them and their families.

    • Review our “challenge sets”, which are math problems students do at home and submit to us for prizes.

    • Support the high school admissions process.

    • Help students find summer programs and internships to grow their interests.

    • Or other tasks, depending on your interests and the office’s needs.

  • Support other work in the BEAM office as needed.

As with everyone in the BEAM office, your goal is to engage and support our students, and to help them grow. We will also customize other responsibilities to your particular skill set. As a part of our office staff, you will also have the opportunity to work with all of our students as they go through admissions processes, drop in to our office, or request other support (with exact involvement depending on your time availability).

Qualifications

Above all, we're looking for people who make things happen and who do that 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 if you are ready for this role, you will have:

  • A strong mathematical background (and ideally a STEM major in college),

  • An ability to balance logistical details in your head (or on paper!), think through eventualities, and plan ahead,

  • A love for helping others and a dedication to helping each of our students,

  • An ability to quickly bond with students,

  • Organization and the ability to develop a project on your own,

  • Strong communication skills (including verbal and written),

  • Fluency in a language spoken by our families, such as Spanish, Mandarin, or Catonese,

  • Strong computer fluency, and

  • The ability to motivate people to aspire to more.

Significant pluses may include:

  • Experience with students from historically marginalized backgrounds,

  • A strong teaching background, or

  • Experience with enrichment activities such as math circles or math contests.

We're especially looking for someone who can inspire our students to strive for more and motivate them to work with us. Everything else fits into that goal.

Commitment to Diversity

BEAM believes that our staff, at all levels and across all roles, should represent the backgrounds of the students we serve. We are committed to creating a supportive and inclusive environment. Beyond a commitment to nondiscrimination, we strongly encourage applications from underrepresented and marginalized communities.

Salary, Benefits, and Other Details

The position's title and exact responsibilities will be depend on experience and qualifications. The Program Assistant title is a more entry-level role, intended for someone just out of college or with only a few years of work experience; the Program Coordinator role is intended for someone with a few years of work experience. We expect a starting salary range between $40,000 and $55,000 per year, depending on experience.

BEAM offers benefits including health, dental, vision, commuter benefits, and paid time off. BEAM's work hours are also highly flexible and we can accommodate a variety of schedules, including the opportunity to work remotely at times. However, please be aware that this position may require weekend work (likely Saturdays) based on BEAM's events for students. Some BEAM staff shift their “weekend” to Sunday and Monday, and you’ll have flexibility to set an appropriate schedule.

The position will be based in our New York City offices, currently in the Financial District but moving to lower midtown (in space provided by the Edwin Gould Foundation).

An ideal start date for us is between June 1 and August 1, to give you time to get to know our summer programs.

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!) Many of our staff train to become site directors during the summer and this is a path you might consider following.

In general, we are all very dedicated but also relaxed. We care deeply that the work environment is pleasant for everyone, and that we are transparent about our processes. Please feel free to reach out with any questions.

Application Process

To apply, please send a cover letter and resumé to hiring@beammath.org. We would also appreciate it if you can include two math problems: first, an example of a favorite math problem appropriate for high school students, and second, a math problem or concept that you find personally interesting and which you feel you understand thoroughly. 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, and you don’t have to choose something impressive. Just something you like!)

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.

Finally

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.

Sincerely,
The Entire Staff at BEAM