Our Story

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

Our Team

Shiqi Cheng
Mu Alpha Theta president

Shiqi is a senior 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.

Rohan Jain
JHMC co-chair and web lead

Rohan is a senior at IMSA. He enjoys web development, math, physics, sleeping, and contemplating his existence in this meaningless world. His favorite topic in mathematics is lie algebra because of its applications to many fields of physics.

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Yina Wang
JHMC co-chair

Yina is a senior 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.

Pietro Stabile
Mu Alpha Theta vice-president

Pietro is a senior at IMSA. He typically partakes in activities such as photography, sleeping, computer programming, journalism, and tomfoolery with his wing-mates. His current favorite math topics are Fourier and Taylor series, but this changes often. Pietro staunchly believes that mint chocolate chip ice cream does, in fact, taste like toothpaste and should not be consumed by anyone.

Kevin Zhang
JHMC math co-chair

Kevin is a senior at IMSA. His favorite regions of math are number theory and anything related to integrals or derivatives. Besides math, Kevin also loves physics, programming, and swimming. Recently, he has added pool trick-shots and philosophy to this list. Kevin can usually be found either walking in nature, thinking about a problem, or trying to spot patterns like the Fibonacci spiral in art.

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Aashima Sisodia
JHMC math co-chair

Aashima is a junior at IMSA. Her favorite topic in math is geometric probability. When she isn’t doing anything JHMC related, she is drinking a matcha latte or bubble tea and listening to a science podcast or some music. She also enjoys debating, painting along with Bob Ross, and swimming.

Vidyoot Senthil Venkatesh
JHMC representative

Vidyoot is a junior at IMSA. Outside of JHMC, he is engaged in debate, coding, and robotics. He can most often be spotted at his desk coding, after devouring a bag of Takis, or in the robotics lab piecing together parts. During his pastime, he enjoys playing soccer with friends and running.

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.

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Lily Zhang
JHMC sophomore representative

Lily is a sophomore at IMSA. In addition to math, which she so dearly loves, she enjoys playing piano, swimming, and singing obnoxiously with her friends. Lily is interested in combinatorics, and she has a strong dislike for number theory.

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Ryan Cho
JHMC sophomore representative

Ryan is a sophomore at IMSA. He has strong interests in computer science, the human body, and sleeping. You can usually find Ryan sleeping or pretending to be awake when actually sleeping. He also enjoys playing the violin, exploring fun projects, and working on math problems with friends!

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Max Chen
JHMC sophomore representative

Max is a sophomore at IMSA. He enjoys playing guitar, tennis, and debate. Outside of Mu Alpha Theta, Max can often be spotted procrastinating at his desk, walking around campus, or studying in random classrooms. In his freetime, he enjoys pestering his wing mates and watching anime.

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 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.