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Our Team

Our Founders

Richard Rusczyk

Art of Problem Solving was founded by Richard Rusczyk in 2003 to create interactive educational opportunities for avid math students. Richard is the author or a co-author of 7 AoPS textbooks and a past Director of the USA Mathematical Talent Search. He was a participant in National MATHCOUNTS, a three-time participant in the Math Olympiad Summer Program, and a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner (1989). He received the World Federation of National Mathematics Competitions Paul Erdös Award in 2014. He graduated from Princeton University in 1993, and worked as a bond trader for D.E. Shaw & Company for four years. AoPS marks Richard's return to his vocation - educating motivated students.

Glen Dawson

In 2014, Glen founded a learning center in Morrisville, North Carolina, that two years later became the first AoPS Academy campus. Glen served as the National Director of AoPS Academy until his retirement in 2019. He has experience as a college math professor, statistician, and expert SAS programmer. He has been a professional math tutor for many years, and specializes in training academically-advanced and high-performing math students. Glen is a graduate of Duke University and holds a graduate degree in statistics from Boston University.

David Patrick

Dave joined AoPS in 2004. He is the author or a co-author of 4 AoPS textbooks. Dave earned the sole perfect score on the American High School Mathematics Examination (AHSME) in 1988 and was a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner that year. He attended the Research Science Institute (RSI) in 1987, and the Math Olympiad Summer Program in 1988, where he first met fellow student Richard Rusczyk. He also finished in the top 10 on the Putnam exam in 1991. Dave graduated from Carnegie Mellon in 1992 with a BS in Mathematics/Computer Science and an MS in Mathematics. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT in 1997. He was an acting Assistant Professor at the University of Washington from 1997 to 2001. Dave is originally from Western New York and is an alumnus of the SUNY Buffalo Gifted Math Program.

Management Staff

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Julie Kemeklis - Campus Director

Julie Kemeklis - Campus Director

Julie is the Campus Director at AoPS Academy Princeton. She earned undergraduate degrees in business and Spanish, and an MA in Spanish literature from the University of Georgia- where she also studied French. Julie has taught language courses at Georgia State University in Atlanta and Pace University in New York. Later, she taught English at Berlitz's Rockefeller Center location before starting her own business teaching English as a second language to the employees of global companies with offices in New York. Julie managed the Berlitz Princeton Language Center before joining AoPS Academy Princeton. She is also a freelance writer, having published content online and in print. When not at AoPS or spending time with family, Julie can be found reading historical fiction, writing, on a tennis court, or somewhere out in nature. She especially values sharing her love of books, words, languages and literature with young learners.

Bertilla Sieben - Associate Director

Bertilla Sieben - Associate Director

Bertilla is an Associate Director at AoPS Academy Princeton. A graduate of Princeton University, she earned a bachelor's degree in French while also completing substantial mathematics coursework. Before coming to AoPS Academy, she was a student teacher of math and French at Princeton's John Witherspoon Middle School, and has also worked as a course assistant and grader for AoPS Online and a counselor at the Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics (BEAM) summer program. Bertilla spent her own middle and high school years in Hungary, where she attended a school with a special math curriculum and enjoyed taking part in math competitions, including USAMTS, AMC, and AIME. When she isn't exploring math with young learners, Bertilla enjoys board games, crochet, and playing the piano.

Iuliana Radu - Associate Director

Iuliana Radu - Associate Director

Iuliana's love of math blossomed early, spurred by the brainteasers her father regularly challenged her with. They taught her that math is not only precise and logical, but also playful, creative, and encouraging imagination. Iuliana participated in Romanian Math Olympiads and completed a BS in mathematics and an MS in computer science at the University of Bucharest before coming to the United States to teach college math. She then completed a PhD in mathematics education at Rutgers University, during which she researched how students think about mathematical infinity. Before joining AOPS, Iuliana taught math and math education courses at Rutgers University and coordinated the Rutgers Math Teachers’ Circle. In her spare time, Iuliana enjoys hiking, music, and table tennis.

Bhagya Guhagarkar - Administrative Coordinator

Bhagya Guhagarkar - Administrative Coordinator

Bhagya earned an undergraduate degree in architecture from Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology in Nagpur and a postgraduate qualification from the Center for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad. She has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses in an architectural college in India for 2 years. Bhagya also worked at a design firm where she did spatial problem solving for interior spaces and for amusement parks. Additionally, she has experience teaching elementary level students at the YMCA after school program. Her passion for geometry and logic puzzles comes from her parents - mom, a math instructor, and dad, an engineer. She was introduced to AoPS through the Beast Academy books that her daughter used, and continued to be impressed by the content as she progressed to higher levels. Bhagya loves painting and travelling with her family (especially to national parks). Her artwork has been exhibited in local galleries.

Instructors

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Carlos Bovell

Carlos Bovell

Carlos has been a public high school teacher for nearly twenty years. While earning his math degree at the College of New Jersey, he liked meeting during professors’ office hours to discuss intractable problems, which led them to ponder other unanswerable questions: What is mathematics? Can mathematical objects be known? Some faculty suggested that he pursue philosophy alongside math, a suggestion culminating in Toronto where he successfully defended a master’s thesis: “Rhetoric More Geometrico in Proclus’ Elements of Theology and Boethius’ De Hebdomadibus.” Carlos also completed an MS degree in mathematical computer science at Rutgers University-Camden. Among his publications are a book entitled, Ideas at the Intersection of Mathematics, Philosophy and Theology, and an article entitled, “The Mathematician Is Not Really the Pure Theoretician but Only the Ingenious Technician.”

Dr. Li Chen

Dr. Li Chen

Li teaches math at AoPS Academy Princeton. His passion with math started with his own Olympiad math competition experience as a high school student. He likes working on challenging math problems and sharing elegant solutions with his students. Li earned his PhD degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University. After working in the financial industry for more than fifteen years, he decided to be a math teacher. When not teaching, he loves playing golf, tennis and basketball.

Alan Chernoff

Alan Chernoff

Alan teaches math and mechanics at AoPS Academy Princeton. Alan earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and master’s degree in economics from Rutgers University New Brunswick. Additionally, he is currently pursuing his PhD in economics at Rutgers, where he periodically teaches. He has also taught various levels of math, statistics, and physics since his time as an undergrad. When he isn’t studying economics or math, Alan is a big fan of Lego and various trading card games, which he has been assured are both very cool interests to have.

Brian Claus

Brian Claus

Brian earned his BA in Astrophysics at Harvard University where he discovered a passion for teaching math and science. Before moving to New Jersey he worked in Massachusetts as a physics teacher and Planetarium Program Director. He loves listening to students tackle a new problem and then helping them share and refine their ideas. When not teaching he can be found learning a new board game, stargazing, or talking about anything Star Wars.

Arlene Cohen

Arlene Cohen

Arlene holds a BA in cognitive science from Wellesley College. She has taught middle-school math in central New Jersey for over twenty years at Princeton Day School and The Pennington School. Motivated by her passion for introducing students to the creative side of problem solving, Arlene has also helped bring the Destination Imagination program to local schools. Outside the classroom, she is an award-winning needlework designer whose patterns are purchased by stitchers around the world.

Lisa Dekis

Lisa Dekis

Lisa is thrilled to be teaching language arts at AoPS Academy Princeton. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the classroom, having worked with students of all ages and levels from elementary school through high school. Lisa holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Rider College and a master's in English literature from Rosemont College where she focused her studies on Leo Tolstoy's short stories and environmental icon narrative poet Robinson Jeffers. She transitioned to teaching after retiring from a career in the scientific, marketing, and financial sectors of the pharmaceutical industry. Lisa is passionate about many things- among them travel, friendship, reading, kindness, tolerance, open-mindedness, and a concrete belief in the inherent greatness of children.

Tom Fay

Tom Fay

Tom is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University, where he earned his BA in English Language and Literature. After brief stints as both a theater critic and financial proofreader, he found his true calling: teaching. Since 2011, he has taught high school English, where his passion for education is on full display. He is also an experienced SAT/ACT tutor and creative writing instructor. Ever mindful of the student experience, Tom uses his unique blend of energy and enthusiasm to create a positive, inclusive, and fun learning environment for all. Outside of the classroom, he enjoys travelling, snowboarding, and—most of all—eating pizza.

Kim Feldman

Kim Feldman

Kim teaches math at AoPS Academy Princeton. She studied philosophy and computer science at The College of New Jersey and first began teaching in Chengdu, China in 2017. After discovering her passion for teaching, she has been helping students learn advanced math in the US at various after school programs ever since. When not teaching, she spends most of her time on creative endeavors such as computer programming, baking, crocheting and cold process soap making.

Mitchell Fuhr

Mitchell Fuhr

Mitch teaches mathematics at AoPS Academy Princeton. He graduated from New York University with a BA in economics and a minor in math. After nearly two decades working at international banks in New York City, Mitch transitioned to teaching. He has been at Piscataway High School almost ever since, where he teaches geometry and discrete math. Outside the classroom, Mitch loves math games and puzzles, community service, and traveling. He has visited 27 states and is the Kiwanis Advisor for Piscataway High’s Key Club. Mitch has also been published four times in Dell Logic Puzzles and loves to challenge others at grid-based games like Othello, Connect Four, and Chess.

Sarah Gift

Sarah Gift

Sarah teaches mathematics at AoPS Academy in Princeton. She holds both an MA in mathematics from Bryn Mawr College and an MA in secondary math education from Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition, she is currently pursuing a PhD in math at Drexel University. Sarah has taught math in various capacities, with pupils ranging from middle school students to college students and even adults. She loves that teaching not only helps her students grasp mathematical concepts, but also deepens her own understanding of the material. Outside of math, Sarah enjoys knitting scarves and blankets, going for walks, and playing games with her family.

Dr. Irena Gobernik

Dr. Irena Gobernik

Irena graduated from Russia’s Novosibirsk State University and then went on to earn her PhD in applied mathematics at the Russian Academy of Science’s Center for Computational Sciences in Moscow. She has always been fascinated by the beauty of pure mathematics and encourages her students to seek the most elegant solutions to the problems that they explore together in class. Having won various math Olympiads in high school, Irena now enjoys helping her students solve problems by thinking outside the box. In her spare time, she plays the guitar, sings, and spends time at her workbench making small human-like figures out of wood.

Christopher Goritski

Christopher Goritski

Christopher teaches language arts at AoPS Academy in Princeton. He earned his BFA in writing from Goddard College. He is currently completing his MFA in Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts. He writes novels, short fiction, and essays. He has spent the majority of his career working as a mental health professional and in IT at Rutgers University. When he isn’t writing or reading, he enjoys playing with his dogs in the yard, spending time with his family, sketching, and playing the piano.

Tim Hart

Tim Hart

Tim teaches language arts and mathematics classes at AoPS Academy Princeton. He has worked in education for the past seventeen years as a teacher and instructional leader. He earned his BA from Fordham University and Master’s degrees from Fordham and Rutgers University. Tim is currently working towards a doctorate at Rutgers, and he is writing his dissertation on elementary math practices and teacher noticings. In his free time, he loves to read and write, take his dogs for walks along the D&R Canal, watch movies, and spend time with his family.

Sree Kumar

Sree Kumar

Sree has a passion for teaching and inspiring young minds. He has over ten years of experience tutoring elementary math students and believes every child’s story is unique and that empowering them to be comfortable with their own skills and talents is paramount to inculcate a love for lifelong learning. Sree is a writer and has published three children’s books out of stories that originated from elementary school topics he taught his own son. Sree is a graduate of NYU’s Stern School of Business. He designs and builds models (financial, statistical, supply-chain) for his customers around the globe and is pioneering the use of AI(Artificial Intelligence) and ML(Machine Learning.) In his free time, Sree enjoys playing tennis and golf, and making his own wine.

Jacqueline Martin

Jacqueline Martin

Jacqueline earned her BS in elementary education and mathematics from The College of New Jersey, and has been teaching since 2013. She currently teaches middle-school math, but has worked with all ages of students, from first grade through high school. When she isn't helping students learn to manipulate algebraic expressions, Jacqueline enjoys playing the violin.

Patrick Murray

Patrick Murray

Patrick recently retired from teaching high school math. At Monmouth University, he taught logic design and microprocessor system design. He started his engineering career designing NASA Space Shuttle simulators and NOAA weather radar and was also a finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics in 2015. He has also authored a manuscript published in Frontiers of Microbiology in 2018 on novel protein enzyme activities where students participated and were also recognized. Patrick's computer consulting firm retained top clients: Novartis, Paine Webber, and Georgetown University Medical Center. An avid gamer his entire life, Patrick can be found in League of Legends solo queue, with Bronze II his highest rank maining Heimerdinger.

Courteney Palis

Courteney Palis

Language arts instructor Courteney loves asking questions, exploring new ways of thinking, and having fun with her students! She holds an MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and environmental studies from New York University, where she also worked with preschoolers through AmeriCorps’s Jumpstart program. Courteney advises college students at The New School’s Parsons School of Design, and has also taught at SUNY Purchase College; worked for CityScience, a non-profit promoting STEM education; and advised students at a local community college. In her spare time, she loves to read, write, run, and hang out with her dog, Zeus.

Maureen Sikora

Maureen Sikora

Maureen has been teaching math for ten years and has worked at St. Paul’s School in Burlington, Stuart Country Day School in Princeton, and Cedar Hill Prep in Somerset. She has coached middle school teams for math competitions and loves showing her students just how beautiful math can be. Maureen is certified as a middle school math teacher and hold a Master’s in special education from Rutgers University; she is also working on obtaining certification to teach high school math. When Maureen isn’t learning or teaching math, she enjoys running, outdoor activities, and spending time with her family.

Dr. Smita Sood

Dr. Smita Sood

Smita is an educator and a researcher. She has a PhD in mathematics and has worked as an assistant professor of mathematics at a university in India. She has been teaching mathematics to undergraduate and graduate students for the last 15 years. After coming to the US, she has been actively involved in tutoring high school and college students and has also taught AP courses. She loves teaching and enjoys interacting with young minds - it does not matter whether they are school kids or college students. Her mission is to provide an environment where students can learn and become competent users of mathematics and mathematical application. Smita has also recently completed a government funded project on data analytics, and is proficient in R, Python, and SPSS, amongst other analytics tools. In her free time, she loves playing with her dog and spending time with family.

Melinda Van Dillen

Melinda Van Dillen

Melinda has spent the majority of her career as a corporate communications director in the entertainment and technology sectors. With over 15 years of experience crafting a broad range of messages and material, she is passionate about being able to communicate clearly and effectively. Melinda has also been involved with corporate internship programs and enjoyed helping students grow their communication and PR skills. She holds a B.S. in Writing for Television, Radio and Film from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications and is currently active in several non-profit organizations, including serving as a board member of her local PTA. Melinda enjoys spending free time with her family and friends and can most often be found in her kitchen experimenting with new recipes, playing with her dog or browsing in a bookstore so she can increase the ever-expanding pile of books she wants to read.

Ping Yan

Ping Yan

Ping has been an English instructor at Berlitz (Princeton) for the past 4 years, customizing language lessons for children and adults. Prior to that, she worked as a freelance chef, teaching culinary classes in the NYC metro area. Certified as a TEFL instructor, she is adept at recognizing and addressing different learning styles. Ping has an AAS degree in communication design from Fashion Institute of Technology, and also holds a BS in human resources management. Her love of language arts began at the young age of 7, when she discovered the magical world of the Scholastic Book Club! The delivery of new books was like a birthday and every holiday rolled into one for her. When she’s not reading several books simultaneously, Ping enjoys riding her bike, teaching herself how to roller skate, and laughing at the antics of her impossibly cute Scottish Fold cat, Mila.

Vamsee Yerramilli

Vamsee Yerramilli

Vamsee’s passion for math and logic puzzles is perhaps only surpassed by his passion for teaching. Growing up in India, Vamsee’s passion earned him various math and science scholarships that enabled him to qualify to the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology which admits less than 1% of applicants. Vamsee has three degrees including MBA from Columbia University, MS in Engineering from University of Maryland and Bachelor’s in Technology from Indian Institute of Technology. He is an expert in quantitative finance and risk management, having worked at major financial institutions such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Citibank. He is currently Chief Risk Officer of a hedge fund located in Plainsboro NJ. Vamsee enjoys teaching his own two kids who are currently 4th and 2nd graders. Vamsee loves biking, playing flute and swimming.

"Our homeschooled son is extremely gifted in math and science.  He really feels at home at AoPS Academy.  Through coaching and personal attention at AoPS, he achieved a 5 in AP Calculus at 11 years old and a 4 in AP Statistics at 12.  He also achieved an 800 on SAT II math at 12 years old.  Our son feels very comfortable in the atmosphere of AoPS, where being gifted in math is not looked down on, but treated with respect.  He has truly found his peers at AoPS Academy. 

AoPS Academy allows my son to be himself, learn that there are other kids well advanced in math, and gives him the confidence to know that it is OK to be great in math, and that other people will respect and value his ability."

-Neil D.
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