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Our Story


A Brief Description of Our Team, Mission, and Core Values

Our Team

Jasmine Liu
Jasmine Liu

JHMC co-chair

Jasmine is a senior at IMSA. Outside of JHMC, she pursues her passion for medicine, conducting research at Northwestern and volunteering at hospitals. She's also the Director of Operations of Dialekt, a tutoring service for immigrants, and fundraising chair for the Alzheimer's Association National Capital Area Chapter.

Andy Tang
Andy Tang

JHMC co-chair and web lead

Andy is a senior at IMSA. Outside of Mu Alpha Theta, he partakes in debate, science research, and coding. Despite being questionably athletic, he is busy learning baseball by immersion from his roommate's rants about the Cubs. When not busy, he can be found reading a book from the de-facto branch library he runs in his room.

Yina Wang
Yina Wang

JHMC assistant chair

Yina is a junior at IMSA. Her favorite topic in competition mathematics is counting and probability, and her least favorite is number theory. When not engaged in MAΘ, Student Council, or Psychology Club, Yina derives enjoyment from pestering her roommate, Shiqi.

Rohan Jain
Rohan Jain

JHMC assistant chair

Rohan is a junior at IMSA. He enjoys coding, entrepreneurship, sleeping, and contemplating his existence in this meaningless world. His favorite topic in mathematics is number theory and is currently taking IMSA’s Number Theory course. It is his favorite class.

Shiqi Cheng
Shiqi Cheng

JHMC math co-chair

Shiqi is a junior at IMSA. Outside of Mu Alpha Theta, she plays the viola, does science research, and occasionally commits mild acts of mayhem. Shiqi can usually be found doing math for fun or reading one of her many books. When not in meetings and stressed about work, Shiqi often distributes compliments and positive comments to her peers.

Eric Shackelford
Eric Shackelford

JHMC math co-chair

Eric is a senior at IMSA who enjoys ping pong, frisbee, yo-yoing, and walking his dog when not devouring math textbooks and papers like candy on Halloween. Note that he would like you to know he thinks physics is pretty cool, too. Occasionally, Eric partakes in shenanigans. One time he also did a flip on a trampoline, which he terms "pretty neat."

Arjun Cherukuri
Arjun Cherukuri

JHMC Representative

Arjun is a sophomore at IMSA who enjoys volleyball, obsesses over corgis, pursues his passion for medicine, and grinds out math problems in his free time – calculus is pretty neat :). Also, Arjun finds chemistry really interesting as long as there ‘Argon’na be chemistry puns. Finally, Arjun disagrees with the idea of pineapple on pizza and that should be noted.

Grace Murray
Grace Murray

JHMC Representative

Grace is a Sophomore at IMSA. When she’s not in the middle of an existential crisis (or a homework crisis), she enjoys reading and going to sleep “ridiculously early,” according to her wingmates. Her favorite candy is Peanut M&Ms, which constitute a majority of her spending.


Our Mission

What needs must be addressed?

Ever since the first IMSA JHMC was held decades ago, our mission and core values have remained unchanged. We continue to believe that middle school is an oft-neglected but critical formative period for STEM-oriented students, during which a student's positive or negative experiences have an outsize impact on their future educational attainment. This is backed up by results from peer-reviewed studies: for example, Wang and Goldschmidt 2003 finds that differences in mathematical opportunities during middle school translates to increasing educational inequity into high school.

We believe that creating more opportunities for students to have positive experiences with mathematics will not only increase equity for disadvantaged students but also translate into better academic and career outcomes across the board for all participants. This is a deeply personal issue for many of us: almost all of the contest organizers are where we are today in no small part due to opportunities like MATHCOUNTS and the AMC 8, which gave us an outlet to have fun with STEM.

How do we improve on existing programs?

We believe that an effective mathematics outreach program has two key traits: first, it makes math fun, and second, it gives students the opportunity to discover deep insights on their own. We believe that this second trait can't be achieved by simply "skimming the surface" of mathematics: while the gems of discovery might not be buried deep, students need to seek them out in extended problem-solving experiences, experiences which contests like the AMC 8 don't provide.

Hence, we seek to expand on more conventional contest-math rounds in JHMC by diving deeper with our unique Creative Thinking round, where students solve short sets of themed problems extending beyond the normal middle school curriculum. This lets students discover deeper insights than what other middle school contests provide. We believe that this opportunity, provided during the critical time of middle school, among the relatively few nationwide math contests targeting this demographic, will significantly benefit both the math community and our country at large.

For the foregoing reasons, we have decided on the following for the 2022 JHMC mission statement:

"The IMSA Junior High Mathematics Competition aims to foster genuine interest in STEM by providing high-quality, intriguing problems across a wide breadth and depth to a diverse community of students at the middle school level."

Our Values

Our core values are the heart of our competition, making it the best it could possibly be.

  • Accessibility: We want this opportunity to be accessible to students from around the country, giving everyone an equal chance to succeed. No matter where you're from or where you're at in your mathematics journey, we want you to feel welcome at the Junior High Mathematics Competition.
  • Community: We want to both be one integral part of the larger middle-school mathematics community and develop our own sense of family around JHMC. We hope to foster a shared love of mathematics to bring people closer together.
  • Quality: We work hard to ensure that our questions are suitable for this competition, hitting the sweet spot in terms of difficulty so that this contest is both enjoyable and enriching for participants of all levels.