Alumni reports

We asked our alumni to write a couple of words on the role of Math in Moscow in their education and its impact to their career. Below are their reports.

Reports of 2013.

Reports of 2010

Fall 2009

Will Fletcher (Pomona College; junior; participated in MIM during the whole academic year 2009/ 2010)

It exposed me to a wide field of mathematics, and gave me an idea which parts of mathematics I would like to enter.

Adeel Khan (University of Maryland, Baltimore; junior; participated in MIM during the whole academic year 2009/ 2010)

The “Math in Moscow” program was a great opportunity for me. At the time I was an undergraduate in UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), and I was feeling rather bored with the level and variety of mathematics courses offered there. MiM opened my eyes to the world of modern algebra, and helped confirm my decision to attend graduate school in mathematics. Now I am working in algebraic geometry and using what I learned in Moscow every day.

Christina Lorenzo (North Central College; senior)

The Math in Moscow program was an excellent way for me to study advanced mathematics by leading researchers in their fields. It was an experience that I believe helped prepare me for graduate school in mathematics and was a great cultural experience as well.

Austin Mack (University of North Carolina at Ashville; sophomore)

Math in Moscow played a large role in my education. This program gave me the opportunity to take classes in a setting I would not have been able to do at my home university. I was introduced to a field that is not taught at my university or many undergraduate universities in the US. This field lead me to heading to graduate school in mathematics to further study this field. This program played a large role in my mathematical education and I am not sure what my future would have been without it.

Bill Robinson (Grove City College; graduate; participated in MIM during the whole academic year 2009/ 2010)

I attended the Math in Moscow program immediately after graduating college with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. The quality of education in Moscow was excellent, with a wide variety of classes offered. I had the opportunity to learn subjects which were not offered for my college degree, and I matured greatly as a mathematician. When I entered graduate school, instead of being in the bottom third of my incoming class (as I would have been without MIM), I was in the top third and had a clear idea of what I wanted to study. I still maintain contact with some of those I met in Moscow, both Russian and American, and I have gained a great appreciation for the Russian and their culture.

Natalie Sheils (Seattle University; senior)

MiM was a wonderful opportunity that definitely set me apart as an applicant to graduate school. Not only did it give me the chance to see a new part of the world where an incredible amount of mathematics is and was done, but I learned from very smart people and was surrounded by peers who were also interested in pursuing careers in mathematics. These relationships have been important during my PhD work. I was able to take small classes with wonderful professors and I’m certain I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.

Spring 2010

Blagoje Djordjevic (University of Texas at Austin; sophomore)

Math in Moscow made a great impression on me as a mathematician and a scientist. I went to Moscow mostly with just the mindset of a physicist but came back with a deep appreciation for the unique challenge and artistry involved in higher mathematics. The Russian approach to teaching was different for me and at times hard to keep up with, but it in the end only reinforced the respect I had for Russian scholarship. As a result of my experience in MiM I ended up finishing a bachelors in both mathematics and physics with a thesis topic in theoretical physics, which was heavily influenced by my time there. My experience studying at MiM, although not without difficulties, left an indelible impression on me and I hope that it will continue to be available to students in the future.

Moyang Li (Columbia University; sophomore)

I went to Math in Moscow after my sophomore year at Columbia, when I was trying to understand what it was about mathematics that interested me. At Math in Moscow, instructors emphasized the intuitive, creative aspect of the concepts and skills we were learning. Theorems were often accompanied by imaginings of what their original inspirations might have been. Though I’ve decided not to continue with mathematical studies in graduate school, Math in Moscow inspired my interest in studying the creative, aesthetic and narrative aspects of proofs and proof-writing, something I’m still interested in exploring.

Jun Yong Park (University of Minnesota; sophomore)

Inspiration and discovery. My first progress in mathematics wouldn’t have been able if I hadn’t learned topology from my study at Moscow.

Changwei Zhou (Bard College; sophomore)

I am becoming seriously interested in algebraic topology after this program. I think I like my experience.

Fall 2010

Sen Zhao (Carleton College; junior)

I am grateful for the training I got at Math in Moscow. The classes offered in the program were very rigorous which trained my ability in quantitative reasoning. Therefore, although currently I am not working in a field of pure math, I do benefit from the training I got at Math in Moscow. Furthermore, Moscow is a fascinating city. My experience living there was unforgettable. I am now more comfortable to merge into a new community. The experience helped me a lot when I moved to Seattle.

Spring 2011

Harold Blum (Swarthmore College; junior)

The Math in Moscow program was essential in exposing me to fields of math that I was unable to take courses in at my home university. It was a formative experience for me

Santiago Guisasola (University of Central Florida; junior)

Some of the other students I met while attending Math in Moscow are still great friends today. We often talk to each other about current research in a few fields and sometimes chat for hours about mathematical ideas. Besides this, my experience while studying in Moscow was very inspiring. It offered me a grander view of mathematics I did not have at my home university.

Matthew Stoffregen (University of Pittsburgh; sophomore)

Math in Moscow was a great experience for me, and I think it has been instrumental in my experience in math so far. The quality of math instruction was great, and the topics presented were, I think, far beyond those presented at almost any undergraduate institution in the US in both sophistication and variety. I feel that the education there has made me a much stronger student of mathematics than I would otherwise be. The topics I first learned there directly helped me in an REU back in the US, and in research thereafter, and I imagine will continue to help and shape my work in the future. For me, Math In Moscow served as an introduction to mathematics above and beyond the standard undergraduate curriculum, and made my mathematical perspective completely different from what it had been at my home institution. And, because of that, I’d say that most of the math I’ve learned, I’ve learned at, or due to, Math in Moscow. Math in Moscow inspired my decision to go to graduate school, and it was the education I received there that made going to graduate school possible.

Ethan Twisdale (University of Northern Colorado; senior)

Math in Moscow was instrumental in allowing my education to take its next step into graduate school. Many of the ways in which it helped me were predictable; I gained confidence in my ability to succeed at the graduate level, gained exposure to subjects not routinely taught in undergraduate programs in the United States. It also helped immensely in some less predictable ways. For instance, it provided me really the only opportunity I had to work as part of a group of strong mathematical minds. While routine in graduate school, this frequently isn’t the case in undergraduate courses, and it was helpful to have a preview of sorts for this sort of interaction. It also taught me the sort of time management needed for graduate school, as its classes are more reliant upon student initiative to learn the material than undergraduate courses are in the US. Highly recommended for anyone considering graduate school.

Markus Vasquez (Oklahoma State University; senior)

Math in Moscow was a great way to bridge the gap between my undergraduate coursework and the work that was expected of me when I started graduate school. I think that Math in Moscow was essential to my mathematical career.

Fall 2011

Christopher Adkins (McMaster University (Ontario, Canada); junior; participated in MIM during the whole academic year 2011/2012)

It made me switch from physics to mathematics! Made me a much better problem solver as well.

Jonathan Eskeldson (Universit of Oregon, sophomore)

What I got most out of it wasn’t exactly the classes, but more of the general approach to mathematics that I learned. Oftentimes, a professor would say something about math in general as a remark or introduction to what they were about to introduce. After a little more thought, you’d realize that what they just said was really significant.

Joe Ferrara (University of California, Berkeley; senior; participated in MIM during the whole academic year 2011/2012)

Math in Moscow introduced me to the world of mathematics, and challenged me in many ways. The experienced helped lead me to starting a graduate program in mathematics starting this fall.

Ricardo Kabila (Connecticut College; junior)

Math in Moscow helped me affirm my interests in applied math. There is so much about life, math, friendship and carrer path that I learned in the program that surely will serve me well in the years to come.

Kirill Lazebnik (State University of New York at Geneseo; senior)

Math in Moscow was great! Students from liberal arts schools rarely have the chance to take classes taught by research mathematicians, and it is very important they take such classes before graduate school. Math in Moscow is one of few programs that give such students the chance, and it is unrivaled in its level of student-teacher interaction. It was also my favorite semester as an undergrad!

Spring 2012

Zachary Breig (University of California, Berkeley; senior)

Math in Moscow was amazing training in mathematics and an important cultural experience that will inform my future work in economics.

Kevin Carlson (Indiana University, Bloomington; junior)

I would certainly not be where I am today, mathematically, without MiM. I felt the program skipped me ahead on the order of three semesters relative to the pace of my American program. When I got to Moscow I was barely toying with the idea of pursuing math, and still had little understanding of what such a career would entail; thus it currently looks like MiM comprised the most professionally important semester of my undergrad.

Ping Ngai Chung (Massachusetts Institute of Technology; sophomore)

I was undoubtedly one of the greatest experience in my college life. I am fascinated by the strong academic environment in the program. Academically, the math classes are intense and of very high standard, comparable to those offered in my home university. Also since the classes are so small, we have much more opportunity to interact with the professors and hence have a much better understanding of the material than in a big class. The pace is also tailored according to our understanding. Besides, living next to the other participants of the program, all of whom are enthusiastic math majors, builds a good and intimate environment to learn math. Much of the learning is done through discussions with the other students. These provide a solid foundation for me to study more advanced mathematics when I am back to my home university, and confirm my interest in math research.

Jean Costello (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; junior)

Math in Moscow gave me a broader understanding of the field of mathematics as a whole. Because the program was small, and we shared a living space, we were able to constantly share our ideas and experiences in mathematics. In addition, the professors were always eager to provide new insights . They encouraged us to be active learners in class, and small class sizes meant that the courses were tailored to the students in them. The courses I took through Math in Moscow gave me the background I needed for a summer REU, and the individualized structure of the classes helped me succeed on my project.

Jeremy Garcia (University of Northern Colorado; senior)

Showed the demands of high level mathematics normally seen in graduate school to undergrads. Very challenging program helped to prepare for graduate school.

JAdam Martinez (Arizona State University; junior)

It was a very good opportunity to experience thorough and challenging mathematics classes taught in a very different manner than I was used to. The faculty and students are among the most passionate I’ve worked with and it was perhaps my most academically rigorous semester. Programs I’ve applied to look very fondly upon the mention of Math in Moscow in my CV and rightfully so. The benefits are too numerous to list.

Ethan McCarthy (Michigan State University; senior)

Math in Moscow was an absolutely incredible opportunity. It was quite simply the best mathematics instruction I have ever encountered. The level of enthusiasm and excitement put into these courses is second to none. The quality of instruction is superb, and the style of instruction is a thrilling opportunity to experience as an undergraduate. You are really allowed and encouraged to explore the subject for yourself, and this left a strong impact on me. The exercise sessions are just superb. This was definitely the best experience I had as an undergraduate, and it made me very excited to do mathematics. It has effected my career both in my enthusiasm and love of math, and in preparing me extremely well for my graduate studies.

Joshua Wilson (St. Olaf College; junior)

The courses at Math in Moscow offered a mathematical challenge beyond that seen in my previous classes. Meeting that challenge built my problem solving skills and patience, as well as giving rise to genuine collaborations with my peers. (Of whom there were many more than usual, which was great.)

Fall 2012

Cullen McDonald (Beloit College; junior)

Math in Moscow was really the only opportunity I’ve had to take really advanced mathematics. It allowed me to spend an entire semester just focusing on that one aspect of my studies. It introduced me to the field of differential geometry, in which I hope to do research after graduation.

Aaron Schild (Princeton University; junior)

Math in Moscow was an incredible program for me that really helped me solidify my interest in theoretical computer science and abstract algebra. I am planning to go to graduate school in CS with a theoretical emphasis.

Jesse Selover (Dartmouth College; sophomore)

I was a Dartmouth student when I went to MiM. I applied for transfer to MIT while I was in Russia, and believe the program contributed to my success. MiM gave me many good friends with whom I am still in contact, and inspired me to pursue category theory further. This has actually helped me with computer science as well as mathematics classes at MIT. I intend to continue with both subjects (I am still an undergraduate).

Spring 2013

Angela Kraft (Bethany Lutheran College; graduate)

Math in Moscow helped me prepare for grad school. It gave me more confidence in my mathematical abilities. It also gave me the chance to explore Moscow and experience a different culture.

John Zanazzi (Northern Arizona University; senior)

I cannot comment too well currently due to the fact that the semester just ended (I participated in the program during the Spring of 2013), but the Math in Moscow program allowed me to not only take coursework which I would not have been able to take at my home university, but to do so while immersing myself in an entirely different culture. Out of my four years as an undergraduate, the semester which I spent in the Math in Moscow program was the one which I matured the most.

2010 is the tenth year for the Math in Moscow program. We asked our alumni to write a couple of words on the role of Math in Moscow in their education and its impact to their career. Below are their reports.

Spring 2002

Michael Gurvich (University of California, Berkeley; senior)

Math in Moscow presented me with an opportunity to learn about different ways of thinking about mathematics. It made me more well rounded as an aspiring mathematician, and also, overall, as an individual. I am very happy to have made the decision to study abroad at IUM, and hope that others have the same opportunity for years to come.

Tatiana Yarmola (University of California, Berkeley; sophomore)

Math in Moscow program had a very important impact on my career. Not only I learned a lot in the courses I’ve taken, the course by Yulij Ilyashenko directed me to Dynamical Systems, my current field of research.

Fall 2002

David Carchedi (Worcester Polytechnic Institute; junior)

The “Math in Moscow” program has substantially influenced my education and career. It was my first serious exposure to abstract mathematics, as, for the most part, there was simply a dearth of abstract mathematics courses offered at my home institute. I would say I learned more in my one semester in Moscow than during the first two years of my undergraduate studies at WPI. The mathematics was at a very high level and for the first time I felt truly challenged. The program played a crucial role in deepening of my understanding of abstract algebra, and sparking my curiosity in topology and differential geometry. The knowledge learned and intuition gained during that brief semester certainly were a great help in general, and in particular during the “qualifying exam” period of my studies at Purdue. I have no doubt that I would not be where I am today if it were not for this program.

Victoria Everts (University of Colorado; junior)

Math in Moscow gave me a different approach to mathematics and introduced a collaborative style of mathematical exploration that was missing from the courses I took in the United States. I was introduced to a whole collection of people interested in mathematics for many different reasons and became inspired by our shared curiosity and talents. These experiences helped me to shape how I believe math education should be while I was teaching mathematics to middle school students.

Martin Frankland (Universit&eacute de Montreal; senior)

Math in Moscow was the most interesting semester of my undergraduate studies, both mathematically and culturally. The program’s personalized, open-minded approach allowed me to learn a lot and contributed to my passion for mathematics. Living abroad in an entirely new setting was also a valuable life experience. As far as I know, participation in MiM may have helped my applications to graduate schools.

Ian Le (Harvard Univertity; sophomore)

The Math in Moscow program was one of my pivotal educational experiences. What I learned there heavily shaped how I approach and think about math. I still have great admiration for the Russian mathematics tradition, which I have been lucky to remain in contact with through my interactions with Professor Tsygan, Professor Manin and Professor Suslin at Northwestern. My experience in Moscow is also one of the reasons I regularly attend Professor Drinfeld’s seminar at the University of Chicago. The four months I spent in Moscow were among the happiest in my life, and I remember it very fondly.

Nathaniel Singer (University of Califonia, Berkeley;sophomore)

Due to my financial constraints, this was the only time I was able to live abroad during college and was the first time I had left the US. Winning this grant helped give me the confidence to push much harder into my math studies, which eventually led to a Goldwater Scholarship and then to my being valectorian of Berkeley’s math department. I then went on to work at a hedge fund rather than pursue an academic career due to personal curiosity and financial preferences. The MIM program was a really incredible experience for me – it was fantastic getting exposure to the Russian students there and how brilliant they were; the degree to which math was “in the water” made it akin to a language immersion experience (but with math instead); the low cost of the program (NSF money aside) made it a fantastic educational deal even vs my public university. In sum, it was a really great and interesting time that really helped inspire me in my career.

Daniel Wolf-Root (University of Chicago; junior)

In the Math in Moscow program I fell in love with complex analysis, became proficient in elementary modern algebra and learned even more about Russia, its history and culture than math.

Spring 2003

Cameron Donnay Hill (California State University, Long Beach; Post-Baccalaureate)

My time at Math in Moscow was very important in my development as a mathematician, especially in developing mathematical “maturity”

Patrick Xavier Rault (College of William and Mary; Junior / Senior (graduated in 3 years)

Math In Moscow provided the most challenging coursework of my time as an undergraduate, and focused on the areas I cared most about. It was instrumental to my passing my qualifier exams early (1 semester) in graduate school.

Fall 2003

Mark Gondree (Case Western Reserve University; just graduated; participated MIM in the whole academic year 2003/04)

My research work was in a math-intensive sub-discipline of computer science (modern cryptography). The algebra and combinatorics I took at IUM were valuable in allowing me to progress through my work more quickly and capably than my peers, and I was also less intimidated by the material.

Kristin Marie Shaw (University of British Columbia; senior)

The Math in Moscow program was an extremely valuable experience for me as a young mathematician. In my opinion, this program is much more beneficial than just any semester abroad. It is unique in that it is so focused on mathematics. The courses that I took at the IUM I would have never had been offered at my home institution, the University of British Columbia. It was also a wonderful experience to share the time with just other math students, to develop friendships and work relationships with math students from all over North America. I have recommended this program to so many other math students since my experience. It was a fantastic opportunity for me and I sincerely wish that the program continues to exist.

Spring 2004

Amy Bigelow (Middlebury College; junior)

Thank you very much again for this wonderful opportunity. It was 6 years ago, and I still keep in touch with many of the people I met there. I am a teacher and have been able to incorporate advanced topics like computability theory and combinatorics into the high school curriculum, thanks to what I learned in Moscow. My knowledge of Russian has also been a surprising help, as my first year of teaching, 5 new students immigrated from Russia and knew no English. I continue to recommend this program to many.

Carlos De la Mora (University of Texas at El Paso; junior)

Math in Moscow had a lot of impact in my career. First of all the education I received at the program was excellent. I took classes in topology, algebraic number theory and non euclidean geometry that did not exist at my home university. I also meet people from different parts of the world including Sebastien Labbe a student from Quebec Canada who participated in the program. The next summer I obtain some money from my university to do a summer of research in Quebec. Thanks to my friend Sebastien that arranged all this to accept a non Canadian student. In Canada I learn among other things French that helps me tremendously to read papers in French. When I came back from Moscow to my home town university, I started doing research ( I must add that probably obtain this position because they knew about my participation in Math in Moscow) and there was a question of combinatorics. I then wrote a couple of emails to a former IUM professor S.K. Lando ( we used his book in the class but he was not my professor) asking some question that he answer. This created a research communication between me, an undergraduate student and a well known mathematician. I liked so much the class in algebraic number theory and was so challenging that I decided to study something involving algebraic number theory. And currently that is what I do. In conclusion the program math in Moscow open for me so many doors to collaboration and knowledge that will be difficult to think of anything that was more beneficial for me that this program.

Nicholas J. Early (Indiana University of Pennsylvania; senior)

I praise this program and the talent, dedication, attentiveness, and responsiveness of the organizers and professors whenever I have the opportunity, and I’m very happy to do so now! The instructions emailed by Professor Paramonova for preparing the requisite paperwork for living for four months in Moscow were clear and complete. Part way through the semester I approached Professor Paramonova and asked if someone could tutor me in Quantum Field Theory; it wasn’t long before I (and eventually another student) were meeting for a reading course specially (and extremely insightfully) prepared by Vladimir Belavin. At the end of the semester his father, the well-known physicist Alexander Belavin, gave a private lecture on the Renormalization Group. I would recommend this program without reservation to anyone. I came with an open mind, absorbed as much mathematics and culture as possible while there, and then returned home ready apply a no-nonsense “can-do” approach to my studies. It has served me well, and I believe that this cross-cultural mathematical pollination is extremely valuable and important; I only hope that one day soon I will be able to return to the Independent University of Moscow for further study. The Math In Moscow program is an excellent investment, and it’s an experience I hope will be available for many more generations of aspiring mathematicians.

David Greenberg (Brown University; junior)

Math in Moscow was a great opportunity, and an excellent learning environment. The pedagogical style there was markedly different from the US and overall fostered creativity.

Jonas Charles Kibelbek (Cedarville University; senior)

I really enjoyed my semester in the Math in Moscow program, and I had to work very hard. Since my undergraduate institution was a small liberal arts college with no graduate-level math classes available, the classes I took in Moscow were very helpful in bridging the gap between my undergraduate and graduate courses. They also gave me a taste of several branches of mathematics– algebraic topology, combinatorics, algebraic number theory, and differential geometry– which helped me choose my direction in graduate school. I am still in contact with a couple other students from my semester in Moscow, and have good discussions with them about research and other things. In my teaching, I have encouraged my students to apply to semester abroad and undergraduate research programs; and I would certainly recommend Math in Moscow to anyone suitably interested.

Sebastien Labb&eacute (Universit&eacute de Sherbrooke; sophomore)

High level graduate courses unavailable in Quebec given by very good teachers and researchers. Great opportunities to discuss with other future mathematicians from different countrys.

Benjamin Mermelstein (Pennsylvania State University; sophomore)

Math in Moscow was really my only exposure to difficult math courses during my undergraduate career. It gave me a good idea of what upper level mathematics is like and has benefited me in my Economics PhD program. It also exposed me to a group of highly intelligent students which may have been the most valuable part.

Mehmet Oz (Franklin&Marshall College; junior)

My MIM semester in Moscow was wonderful from all angles, both academically and non-academically. MIM was the key in driving my interest towards mathematics. Before MIM, I was much more into physics than math, and I was majoring in math just to supplement physics. In Moscow, thanks to MIM, I got seriously interested in math, and this process of switching from physics to math has started. In short, MIM is a superb mathematics program set in an amazing city, Moscow. I would rate it 10/10 as a study abroad program.

Aaron Smith (Pennsylvania State University; sophomore)

Mim definitely had a large impact on my decision to pursue a degree in mathematics. The program was challenging and it opened my eyes to many interesting directions of study. I returned wanting to learn much more.

Murray M Stokely III (California State University, Hayward; 1st year masters)

The Math in Moscow program was an incredible life experience and strong stepping stone to graduate research in mathematics and computer science. The hard problem sessions, small lectures, and concentration of dedicated faculty provided a unique experience abroad for focused, serious study of mathematics. There is no question in my mind that my semester at IUM was a necessary step towards graduate school at Oxford and then my current role managing a quantitative team at Google. I remain in contact with some of my former classmates and professors, and have had the pleasure of recommending the program to many others.

Fall 2004

Ashley Blacquiere (University of Prince Edward Island; senior)

I had a fantastic time in Moscow; it was one of my life’s great defining experiences. I know that the students that I spent time with in Moscow got just as much out of it as I did, and I’m sure that all the students in the years since have been just as impressed. Also, although I didn’t stay directly involved in mathematics as a career, math still remains a large part of my life. I mentor students in mathematics on a regular basis and there is considerable application to many types of mathematics in the video game development industry.

Christopher E. Church (University of North Texas; a second year graduate student)

The Math in Moscow program served as a pivotal point in my life/career.

Jennifer Hom (Columbia University; just graduated)

My Math in Moscow semester was the first time I had taken multiple math classes in a single semester, and my positive experience in Moscow helped me to feel confident that I could handle math grad school. I took Topology II while in Moscow. Having seen algebraic topology prior to grad school contributed to my decision to pursue topology as the main topic of my oral exams. My current work is in the area of low-dimensional topology, in particular Heegaard Floer homology and knot theory. Additionally, I made friends during Math in Moscow who I continue to see at math conferences!

Joel Ryan Louwsma (University of Michigan; senior; participated MIM in the whole academic year 2004/05)

I attended many excellent courses in the Math in Moscow program, and these helped me to learn a lot of mathematics at the advanced undergraduate/beginning graduate level. This experience was extremely valuable to me, as it prepared me well for the graduate program at the California Institute of Technology that I entered upon returning to the US. Moreover, I developed an interest in topology from the courses I took in Moscow, to the extent that I decided to do my PhD research in this area.

Allison Heather Moore (University of Texas Austin; junior)

Math in Moscow had a pivotal effect on my education. Without my experiences in Moscow, I probably would not have decided to attend graduate school in mathematics. I am very grateful to the Moscow program for introducing to me to the kind of mathematics that is only offered in graduate course work in the United States. The program also influenced my specific interests. I’m currently working in topology, partly because the topology course at Moscow was so interesting, and because of the encouragement of my friends who were also enrolled in Math in Moscow’s topology courses.

Diogo Gaspar Teixeira de Oliveira e Silva (Teixeira University of Porto (Portugal); junior)

It was an unforgettable experience that greatly shaped my mathematical and personal life.

Paul A. Smith (College of William and Mary; junior)

Participating in Math in Moscow afforded me a unique educational experience that I do not believe I could have gotten anywhere else. The courses were very strong, just as they are many places in the U.S.A.; however, I found the teaching pedagogy to be very different from what we are accustomed to in America, and think that there is much to be gained by being exposed to it. The planned weekend excursions and tours were also fascinating, shedding light on a culture that is not so widely known or understood in the U.S. My semester abroad in Math in Moscow was a semester well spent and I would recommend the program to all students in the U.S. who would like to broaden and deepen not only their mathematical knowledge, but also their perspective on the discipline and its history.

Alex Ustian (Ohio State University; senior)

The program had a tremendous impact not only on my education and career, but also on my entire life. Mathematically I was exposed to topics I otherwise would not have in the program, more specifically representation theory. I enjoyed the course greatly during the Math in Moscow program and due to it now enjoy an interest in automorphic representation theory which has greatly helped me in my field of homogeneous dynamics/number theory. The experience in Russia has greatly shaped my life and view of the world since 2004 (when I was there) and have now spent time in Israel, Italy, and most recently I have just returned from a one year guest position at the ETH in Zurich. My AMS funding helped make my Math in Moscow trip possible.

Spring 2005

Christopher Elliott Biermann (Dartmouth College; senior)

Math in Moscow was probably the most advanced I got in mathematics. I do intend to take some graduate level math courses during my philosophy Ph.D. but for the most part, Math in Moscow was the culmination of my math career.

Brendan Creutz (California Polytechnic State University, SLO; just received Bachelor’s degree)

I very much enjoyed my time in Moscow.

Victor Kostyuk (Rochester Institute of Technology; senior)

I very much enjoyed the MIM program. It was a great benefit, both mathematically and culturally. The courses I took at MIM, especially introduction to commutative and homological algebra, prepared me well for graduate studies.

Anna Pierrehumbert (Princeton University: sophomore)

The broad range of advanced mathematics that I learned in Math in Moscow has been useful to me as a teacher. Understanding these topics helps me teach high school subjects with a view towards higher mathematics, plus I have used some topics directly for math club or enrichment work. I feel fortunate that I had the chance to study math intensively, and experience Russian culture, for the semesterat Math in Moscow.

Adrienne Rau (Columbia University; junior)

Although I didn’t continue on to grad school in Mathematics, the Math in Moscow program made a big difference in my life. The math program in Moscow was different than how math is taught in the US, and the skills I learned in Moscow were helpful both in my summer research, in my courses my last year in college, and continue to be relevant in my current job as a software engineer. In addition, living in Moscow gave me the opportunity to live in a country where I didn’t speak the language well. I learned fast, and was forced to use my language skills as I developed them. This experience has helped me in all life adjustments – new schools, new jobs, etc – and has also helped me help others when they are struggling to adapt to a new environment. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to spend a semester studying at the IUM, and hope that other students can have the same experience I did.

Fall 2005

Thomas Church (Cornell University; senior)

For me the decision to go to graduate school in mathematics was cemented by my time in Moscow, but the math I learned there is still paying off. My research is in low-dimensional geometry and topology, and I often rely on the excellent grounding in differential geometry (Kazarian) I got there; in my first year of graduate school I organized a reading course based on my notes from Kazarian’s class. I did however just publish a paper heavily based on representation theory (Ivanov/Feigin) and combinatorics (Burman), with connections with algebraic geometry and algebraic number theory (Rosenblum). And within the last two weeks I have read and cited two papers published only in Russian. But more important than any particular skill or subject, my exposure to the Russian approach to mathematics (constantly motivating theory by concrete examples and explicit calculations — exemplified by the work of Arnol’d) drives my reading, my research, and also my undergraduate teaching. More than any class I’ve taken or paper I’ve read, it’s made me a better mathematician.

David Coley (University of Chicago; sophomore)

MiM is an excellent program. The classes are all high quality. It was also great to get a chance to experience Russia and Russian Culture.

Henry Danaher (Dartmouth College; freshman)

The Math in Moscow program was the most rigorous math training that I have been exposed to, and I came away from it with a lot of confidence and ability in the subject, because I was challenged and I did well. I was also very interested in the Russian language and gained a fair bit of fluency. Educationally, it was the best experience in all my education. I haven’t yet applied to grad school, so it is really too early to determine its effect on my career, but regardless I feel I benefited from the program tremendously. I’m really grateful for the scholarship I received from the AMS. Thank you Math in Moscow!

Noah Giansiracusa (University of Washington: senior)

Math in Moscow was truly transformative for who I am as a person as well as my mathematical career. With regard to the latter, I was first exposed to algebraic geometry during MiM and that is now the field I am writing my thesis in. My professor (Gorodentsev) was very enthusiastic and got me quite excited about this beautiful area of math. Additionally, I became friends with the other participants from my semester and at least one of them who is also a PhD student now I visit several times a year and enjoy a lasting friendship and bond developed at MiM. Whenever I meet undergraduates majoring in math who are interested in travel and culture I always tell them about Math in Moscow and encourage them to apply. It changed my life in many ways and I want as many other students to have this wonderful opportunity.

Logan Hoehn (University of Saskatchewan; senior)

Since there were few opportunities at my home university for undergraduate students to take graduate-level mathematics courses, the Math in Moscow program was essential in stimulating my development as a math student. My exposure to the material covered in the MiM courses put me at a distinct advantage upon entering graduate studies in math. Moreover, having the opportunity to interact closely with a group of like-minded young students helped encourage me to continue on in math, and has left me with a number of long-standing contacts and friends in the field.

Gordon Honerkamp-Smith (University of Oregon; senior)

The Math in Moscow program instilled in me an excitement for Mathematics as well as a perspective on the global mathematical community that I think few of my peers have the opportunity to experience at such an early point in their careers. On a professional level it inspired me to pursue a career in Mathematics; on a personal level it was one of the most enriching and formative experiences of my life. This program has the power to transform eager and curious young minds into stewards of the discipline. I hope the program continues to flourish. Good luck.

Vera Ranieri (Mount Allison University; senior)

I really enjoyed the Math in Moscow program. Though I did not continue on in math, I found it to be an invaluable experience. Some of my greatest friends were met in Moscow, and I continue to speak fondly of my time there. I believe the program helped me to achieve my goal of going to law school at one of the best law schools in the world by giving me an opportunity to experience another culture and way of teaching.

Troy Tingey (Arizona State University; senior)

The math in Moscow program was exceptional. The management was well organized and the materials and instructors were challenging and appropriate. I feel that the program gave me a boost in my ability to solve complex problems and helped me narrow and focus on my career goals.

Rodrigo Trevino (University of Texas at Austin; junior)

The Math in Moscow semester was the best semester I had during my undergraduate career. I had the chance to go to a new place, learn a new language, a new culture, work closely with professors, and have a fantastic time. I did not know any Russian when I got there, but it sparked my interested in Russian and Slavic languages. I can proudly say that now, 4.5 years after my semester in Moscow, that I have a good grip of the Russian language in the sense that I can discuss most topics with native speakers, discuss math, and translate mathematical papers which are only written in Russian. I also learned a good amount of new math. Having worked closely with professors was a great thing as it allowed for us to go deeper into the mathematical concepts being taught and this was very rewarding. This has been very useful, especially while working on my thesis. But besides math there were non-math things being taught at the MCCME. In particular, the Russian Literature class was the best non-math course I have ever taken. I would not change that for anything. It added a much needed balance to a heavy load of math courses which I undertook. I was lucky, and am very grateful, to have received the NSF-AMS Math in Moscow scholarship. If it was not for that, I would have not attended the program, would have not learned a lot of math in a new style, would have not made lasting friendships (many of whom are other scholarship recipients and grad students elsewhere), would have not read almost every Russian classic book ever written and be able to discuss them at great length, would not be almost fluent in Russian, would have not made useful contacts in my research area (dynamical systems). So, was it a good investment and/or did it have an impact on my career? Hell yeah.

Spring 2006

Daniel Fiorilli (Universit&eacute de Montreal; junior)

The Math in Moscow was a great program for me, russian mathematicians are intriging. I went back to Russia many times after the program, and I will do it in the future as well. For example, I am going to visit the Poncelet laboratory of the independent university next month for a conference on zeta functions. I am very grateful to the people of the independent university for showing me a different way of doing mathematics.

Jia Young Michael Fu (Cornell Universily; junior)

I enjoyed the way mathematics is taught in Russia. I feel there is a strong emphasis upon the intuition, mathematical or non-mathematical, from which results are derived. This is crucial for young researchers because few understand how well-posed questions come about. This frames mathematics as a discourse that changes and takes wrong turns rather than the linear progression of results and definitions often found in math text books. I especially enjoyed my courses with Professor Kazarian and Professor Ivanov. They proved numerous results multiple times from different perspectives highlighting the connections within mathematics. That is something very beautiful to see.

Joshua M. Grayson (Indiana University; senior)

Although I decided to follow music instead of mathematics, the MIM program was still fundamental to my education and my way of thinking about the world. Even though I am no longer pursuing mathematics, the course of study in Russia has affected my way of solving problems. Before studying in Moscow, mathematics was taught to me by rote memorization of theorems, followed with practice problems using these theorems. In the MIM program, we were given problems to work at first, observed patterns in their solutions, then learned that what we figured out was a particular theorem. This of course has profound implications for life in general, not only math. One of the most fundamental lessons I learned from the program was to never be intimidated by a problem, no matter how difficult it seems on the outset. Finally, the experience of living and working in an entirely different setting from my home country gave me valuable insight into global culture which will surely prove invaluable in today’s ever increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. All of these things have contributed to my academic successes in the field of music as well as in all of my other pursuits. The program was truly a life-changing experience.

Thomas Gordon Kuwahara (University of Calgary; junior)

It was a very unique experience culturally that I will never forget. It attracted very talented students and the courses were taught in a way that required active participation in class. The topology course really prepared me very well for the graduate topology course I took in my Masters.

Sara Lee (University of California, Berkeley; junior)

I had a great time in Moscow. It broaden my perspective in Mathematics through meeting all kinds of people who love math. I feel now more comfortable being out of my comfort zone after the experience in Moscow. I always talk about and miss Moscow.

Jessica Kathryn Peters (Simon Fraser University; senior)

Math in Moscow was a challenging, inspiring program that had a deep impact on my attitude toward math. The opportunity to gain exposure to those who had studied math in a different culture, with a different style of instruction, was an eye-opener for me. I have taken a few years off school for personal reasons, but every time I think about my time in Moscow, I can’t wait to go to grad school.

Keith Michael Thomas (Cornell University; junior)

Math in Moscow introduced me to a completely different style of mathematics instruction. Contrasted with the style of my home university, theorems were not proven in front of my eyes, but were given as challenges to the students with helpful hints where needed. It was more in the vein of “bang your head against a problem” until you found the solution or could appreciate the (otherwise roundabout-seeming) proofs. In short, the MIM program gave me the ability to appreciate math as something to be worked out more than wondered at and memorized. This has helped me in teaching math to younger students, mostly because I remember how helpful it was to be guided towards the solution of a problem rather than have an end result rationalized without truly thinking about it for myself. During the program, I realized that the knowledge that stays with you the most is self-gained knowledge, and that a math teacher’s role should be a guiding one, helping a student internalize how math works. Finally, while I have not gone to graduate school, the experience of living and studying abroad has helped me find work overseas.

Fall 2006

Daniel Le (Stanford University; sophomore (Fall 2006) and graduate in the whole academic year 2009/10)

I had always had an interest in mathematics, but I can say definitively that the Math in Moscow program led to my decision to begin a career in mathematics. The professors in the program were dedicated educators excited to pass on not just information, but a way of thinking and a passion for mathematics. The small class sizes made the program an ideal place to not only learn mathematics, but to cultivate a lifelong passion for discovery. The three semesters that I have spent in the Math in Moscow program have been the highlights of my young mathematical career.

Spring 2007

MelanieDeVries (University of Iowa; senior)

I really enjoyed my time in Moscow. It was a great mathematical and just general life experience.

Simion Filip (Princeton University; sophomore)

The MiM program was a wonderful experience, both socially and academically. I managed to learn a lot of good mathematics in a welcoming environment, and got to meet a lot of interesting people. The program offered me a good impulse to decide to study mathematics further, by providing high-quality instruction and a pleasant community.

Michael Lipnowski (University of Waterloo; junior)

Math in Moscow was a stimulating program. It provided a good complement to my studies in North America.

Andrei Negut (Princeton University; junior)

Math in Moscow was a great experience for me as an undergraduate, but also as a future mathematician. Not only were the courses very interesting and well-taught (on par with my undergraduate institution, Princeton), but I also met there a number of great mathematicians who taught me new fields and with whom I later coauthored several papers. I would recommend MIM and the IUM to all my friends.

Jesse Rao (University of Pennsylvania; junior)

Math in Moscow is an excellent program for college students considering graduate school in mathematics. The professors and staff were very friendly and helpful and it was a lot of fun living in Moscow. I made a lot of friends during my semester in Moscow, learned a lot of math, and enjoyed exploring Moscow and traveling.

Fall 2007

Spencer Christopher Foster Backman (Oberlin College; graduate)

A very strong and demanding program. The programs reputation is quite good, I believe, and succeeding in Moscow certainly helped me gain admission to my current program.

Miranda Intrator (University of California-Santa Cruz; graduate)

Math in Moscow was an invaluable experience for me; it allowed me to further my study of mathematics in an extremely challenging academic environment, surrounded by like-minded students and in a small-classroom setting. Though the academic process is somewhat different in Russia (more intellectual independence and problem-solving is encouraged), the professors were highly invested in students’ understanding and it was stimulating to learn in this environment. I know that my grasp of higher mathematics is much stronger now, as well as my appreciation of the process that goes into true problem-solving. Additionally, I enjoyed the cultural experience Math in Moscow offered. I chose to extend my stay in Russia beyond the four months of the program to continue learning Russian language, which allowed me to continue with the studies I had started in the program. I also had the chance to further explore the city of Moscow, and other surrounding areas, and these experiences have certainly aided decision making in my personal and professional life.

Jean-Philippe Labb&eacute (Universit&eacute Laval; senior)

My stay in Moscow has reinforced my desire to continue my graduate studies in mathematics. Why? Because the mathematics there are taught passionately and the course level is above the level that was accessible to me at my university. I met professors and students with whom I kept in touch today. I’m grateful to this program that made me an autonomous student.

Spring 2008

Agnes Beaudry (McGill University; senior)

Math in Moscow taught me a different way to do mathematics. It helped me be bolder and advance faster through advance material. I learned a lot of new mathematics while I was there. It helped me transition between my undergraduate degree to my PhD because it required me to learn faster, and be comfortable with material that I didn’t know very well. Also, spending four months in Moscow gave me the chance to discover Russia. I learned a lot about living in a different culture. It was a good experience to be displaced, and to have to function in a completely different country.

David Cochran (Virginia Commonwealth University; sophomore)

My semester with Math in Moscow was the single most important part of my undergraduate career as a mathematics student; shaping both my desire to pursue mathematics seriously as well as exposing me to the methods necessary to do this. I was able to take courses that I couldn’t have done at my home university and with students that were very much more dedicated than the average math student at my university. It was a very useful graduate-school-like experience before actually going. I’ve recommended it to so many students.

Dustin Clausen (Harvard University; semior)

It was great to be exposed both to mathematics I hadn’t learned yet (and which would have been harder to learn without Math in Moscow) and simultaneously to a pedagogical/mathematical culture and style which was quite different from the one I was used to back home. It probably helped shape me both as a student and as a teacher.

Fall 2008

Maxime Fortier Bourque (Universit&eacute Laval; senior)

The Math in Moscow program made me discover a lot of very interesting mathematics that I like and that I would not have had the chance to meet if I had stayed at my home university. The courses are on modern topics that are ubiquitous in research. Today I still learn about the same topics either in graduate courses or in personal studies. The teaching in the Math in Moscow program is focused on ideas and problem solving instead of superfluous formal rigor. This prepares well for mathematical research. My semester in Moscow confirmed my desire to pursue graduate studies and helped me find an area in which I’d like to specialize. I applied for a Ph.D. program in math for Fall 2010 at three different universities and was offered admission at all three. I accepted offer from the State University of New York in Stony Brook. I think that my experience in the Math in Moscow program, and a letter of recommendation by a MIM professor, contributed to my admission to the Ph.D. program. I also think it played a role in my selection for scholarships I got for my Master’s Degree and that I will get for the Ph.D. I am confident that my semester in the Math in Moscow program will continue to benefit me throughout my career, for the type of math problems I will be interested in and in my way of teaching mathematics.

Kyle Hambrook (University of Lethbridge; senior)

Math in Moscow was a very positive experience for me. Living in another country and experiencing another culture has changed my perspective on life for the better. Opportunities for young people to travel and live in foreign countries like the Math in Moscow program are invaluable as they promote personal growth in a way that few other things can. Math in Moscow also helped me develop academically as well. In the program, I was able to learn new areas of mathematics that I wouldn’t have had to the opportunity to study at my home institution. Additionally, I was able to meet several other very talented students and work with and learn from them. I think the program helped prepare me for graduate school by giving me additional exposure to advanced mathematics and also by forcing me out of the comfortable “big fish small pond” situation I was in at my home university before I started a graduate program. Math in Moscow is a wonderful program, and I hope many other students have the opportunity to benefit from it as I have.

Spring 2009

Emily Gunawan (Smith College; junior)

The courses that I took at Math in Moscow were at a higher level than those at my American college and they helped me learn materials and skills that I needed to succeed in my current PhD program. Also, the problem-solving activities that were done every week in our discussion classes at Math in Moscow has trained me to not be afraid to think on the spot, which is a skill that is needed for interacting and sharing knowledge with my fellow graduate students.

Sean Howe (University of Arizona; junior)

Math in Moscow was an excellent chance to experience a very different mathematical culture and to learn in a fast-paced, exciting environment. Nothing at my home university compared to the accelerated environment produced by the very small class sizes and flexible syllabi at the IUM, and I learned more math during this semester than any other single semester of my undergraduate career, including semesters where I took only graduate courses. Math in Moscow was invaluable in pushing my math education forward; not only by allowing me to learn more, but also by allowing me to spend a semester learning alongside students from top universities, an opportunity that was very important for my graduate school applications; since I discovered my interest in math late, I did not attend a top university for mathematics, but having a semester in Moscow allowed schools to compare my application against applications from students at top schools. Math in Moscow is a great program and I would not have been able to participate in it without the AMS MiM scholarship.

Ian Whitehead (Stanford University; graduate)

Math in Moscow was a terrific experience for me, the perfect springboard to graduate school. Because the program is small, the level of individual attention from faculty is unparalleled.

Valentin Zakharevich (Polytechnic Institute of New York; junior)

Math in Moscow was an inspiring experience, an opportunity to spend a semester with other people as passionate about mathematics as much as me. Also the classes were taught very well on a level that might be difficult to find in an undergraduate University which certainly boosted my level of knowledge. Further, the experience of being thought in a manner differing from that in U.S. made me see a different side of Mathematics which I believe will help me during my Graduate Study in France and Netherlands.

Fall 2009

Will Rowan Fletcher (Pomona College; sophomore; Fall 2009-Spring 2010)

The Math in Moscow program has greatly expanded and deepened my understanding of mathematics. The courses were engaging and rigorous, and several of the classes’ content relates directly to my research in simulating chemical systems. The program has enabled me to focus entirely on graduate-level mathematics when I return to my college as a junior this fall, which will benefit my mathematical education immensely.

Adeel Khan (University of Maryland, Baltimore; junior; Fall 2009-Spring 2010)

I loved Math in Moscow. It was without a doubt the most significant period of my growth as a mathematician so far. My home university is great, but Russian mathematics is simply at a completely different level. I intend to return to Moscow after graduation.

Christina Lorenzo (North Central College; senior)

I feel that the Math in Moscow program was very valuable towards my education. It gave me the opportunity to not only study abroad, but to learn more advanced mathematics at a mathematics university. I believe this program has given me a better understanding of higher level mathematics, as well as a chance to learn a new language and meet others who excel in the field.

Austin Mack (University of North Carolina at Ashville; sophomore)

Attending the Math in Moscow program was an amazing opportunity. Not only was it a great cultural experience being able to attend a study abroad program, but also I was able to take amazing courses. While in Moscow I was able to take classes that I would not have been able to at my home university. I was able to see another style of studying mathematics as well as spending time around other mathematics students, seeing what they have been doing in their mathematics career. This experience was such a great experience I have already decided on attending the program again during the fall of 2011. It would be crucial for my academics seeing that I would have finished almost every mathematics course offered at my university, but also it would be a great to be able to take more classes and spend time in such a great city. Overall though this program was a great experience and has solidified my decision in attending graduate school to obtain my PhD in mathematics.

John Norman Maidens (University of Alberta; senior)

The Math in Moscow program was great not only for the quality of the education but also for the ability to meet some of the best undergraduate students in mathematics from across North America. The connections that I made during my time in Moscow will surely be a great asset in my academic career.

Natalie Sheils (Seattle University; senior)

Below is a paragraph I included in my personal statement as part of my application to graduate school. MiM was an amazing experience and one I absolutely loved! Currently, I am studying in Moscow, Russia as a part of the Math In Moscow program and as recipient of funding from the NSF, administered by the AMS. I am taking challenging mathematical courses and surrounded by my peers-aspiring research mathematicians. I am especially enjoying the small classes, emphasis on problem solving, and one-on-one work with my professors. Each course meets for three hours once a week. This teaching style is different from what I’m accustomed to in the United States, but I appreciate the emphasis on individual study time outside of class provided by this schedule. My professors are emphatic about participation and discussion both in and out of lecture.

Michael Louis Weiss (New York University; junior; Fall 2009-Spring 2010)

Though I only recently completed the Math in Moscow program this semester, I can already see that simply the experience of living in a new country with the additional requirements of undertaking a serious program of academic study have had unparalleled effects on my intellectual and academic development. I benefited tremendously from being able to have direct contact with professors due to the small class sizes. It was an added benefit that the teachers in these courses took an honest interest in my individual mathematic development as well as my acquisition of the course material. I believe this will be the beginning of a very productive period in my career, and I really believe that my experiences here contributed a great deal to this possibility, and I owe a lot to the MIM program for this.

Spring 2010

Changwei Zhou (Bard College; junior)

I think Math in Moscow program greatly changed my ways of thinking in mathematics. Before that I was mainly learning math through reading math books alone; now I realized having class discussions, and personal thoughts on specifically picked problems can be important. It provided me a unique discussion atmosphere with peers with equivalent or better background; it enabled me to analyze my specific weakness and advantageous areas in math; and finally it provided a special window to know more about Russia from my own experience. I regret that my performance is not to the level of expectation I had before I went to the program, but I believe that should more attributed to my personal peculiarities ( too many classes, illness, etc)rather than the program.

William Robinson (Grove City College; recent graduate)

I spent a year in the Math in Moscow program immediately after graduating from college. Though I considered myself well-prepared by my undergraduate institution, the program in Moscow introduced me to a much higher level of study in Math than I had yet seen, and allowed me to study several new subjects which I did not have access to as an undergraduate. The most influential of these was perhaps my studies with the topologists Sossinsky and Kazaryan. I have chosen to pursue research in that field, and it was my classes with these men in Moscow that really opened my eyes to the complexity and beauty of topology. The other courses I took were similarly beneficial, giving me a significant head-start the following year as an incoming Ph.D. student. I have many fond memories of that year, both academically and otherwise!