# UW Math Circle

A weekly class for grades 7–9 dedicated to fun topics from all across mathematics, including cryptography, games, wallpaper patterns, and more.

**2024-25 enrollment is open, first-come first-serve! Closes Sept. 23 or when we reach capacity.**

## A letter from the instructors

Hello!

We’re so excited to tell you about the UW Math Circle! It’s a weekly after-school activity for grades 7–9, and we have two main goals:

- To introduce you to mathematical topics that you won’t see in school.
- To develop problem-solving, teamwork, and presentation skills that prepare you for life in high school and college.

In 2024-25, we’ll dive into algorithms, wallpaper patterns, Fibonacci numbers, and much more! We run on a two-year cycle, and each year’s curriculum is independent from the other, so everyone will start on the same page, whether it’s your first or second year.

We believe that math should be creative, friendly, and fun. To that end, we offer problems at a wide range of difficulties, so that no matter your background, you’ll find many accessible and many extremely challenging. Most of all, we encourage working together, since every student brings unique approaches and valuable ideas.

If you want a really quick taste of the Circle, give this puzzle a try. Or, check out more information about the current year. We hope you’ll join us—it’s going to be awesome!

Sincerely,

The Math Circle instructor team

## Our staff

**Charlie Magland**, *Instructor*

Hi, I'm a second-year math PhD student at UW interested in algebra and representation theory. I am passionate about teaching and getting others excited about math! I also enjoy climbing, hiking, and taking care of my two adorable pet snakes.

**Clare Minnerath**, *Instructor*

I'm a third-year PhD student at UW studying how algebra (think symmetries) and combinatorics (counting!) relate. In my free time, I enjoy baking, biking, and spending time outdoors. I aim to make math circle fun for all!

**Danny Shi** , *Coordinator*

**Glenn Sun** , *Instructor*

Hi there! I'm a second-year PhD student in computer science here at UW. I've taught Math Circles for 5 years now, and I'm excited to show you lots of fun mathematics and cool ideas this year!

**Joe Rogge**, *Instructor, Outreach Director*

I am a third-year PhD student at UW studying combinatorics and algebra. I have taught at Math Circle of Chicago, and the 24-25 academic year is my second year as a Math Circle instructor and my first year as outreach director.

**Josh Hinman**, *Instructor*

I'm a fifth-year PhD student. I study polyhedra (solids with flat sides, like cubes and pyramids). I like to think about math visually, so my favorite problems are the ones you can solve with pictures! I was a Math Circle student in 2012, and it's a big reason why I still study math today. I'm excited for my third year as a Math Circle instructor!

**Julia Pevtsova** , *Coordinator*

**Sean Richardson**, *Instructor*

Hi! I'm a fourth-year PhD student at University of Washington studying geometry and differential equations. Outside of mathematics, I enjoy, running, hiking, and biking.

**Steve Klee**, *Coordinator*

## Acknowledgements

The UW Math Circle has been partially supported by the NSF awards DMS-2200832, DMS-1901854, NSF CAREER Grant DMS-095-3011, NSF RTG Grant DMS-083-8212, and the generous support of our donors.

## FAQ

## Can I join UW Math Circle if I am not in grades 7–9?

Unfortunately, we are strict about this rule in order to ensure that the classroom experience is positive for everyone involved. Since Circle participants graduate after 2 years, this means that in order to complete the Circle through graduation, you should first enter the Circle in 7th or 8th grade. See “What happens after I graduate from the Circle?” for more information about graduation.

## Are there prerequisites or competitive admissions for the UW Math Circle?

There are no prerequisites for the UW Math Circle, apart from a desire to learn! In particular, Algebra 1 is not a prerequisite. You’d be surprised at how much interesting mathematics can be developed from fundamentals, yet is never explored in schools!

Historically, capacity has not been a concern for the UW Math Circle, so registration is free and open to everyone. However, we reserve the right to make changes to this policy if the number of registrations significantly exceeds our capacity.

## Is attendance required every week? Can I drop in to visit a session before committing?

We ask that you attend Math Circle every week, although we know that there are often exceptional circumstances. Please review our calendar under the Current Year page! If you are enrolled in the Circle, please email the instructors ahead of time if you will be absent.

If you are interested in dropping in to visit Math Circle, please email the instructors and let us know ahead of time! Alternatively, our Archives contain all of our worksheets and lessons from previous years, which you can (and should!) use to gauge if the content of the Math Circle will be interesting for you.

## What happens after I graduate from the Circle?

Math Circle participants graduate from the Circle after being enrolled for 2 years. Given that much of our curriculum will repeat every 2 years, all Math Circle alumni are invited to join again as volunteer assistant instructors throughout high school! (This is a new initiative in 2024-25.)

Apart from volunteering, we also strongly encourage Circle alumni to join other math programs, especially over the summer. You can find a big list of programs at this link.

We will always be extremely happy to advocate for Circle alumni, whether that means talking to your school when they are reluctant to allow you to do something math-related, or even be a reference or write you a recommendation letter for other math programs.

## Is the UW Math Circle affiliated with admissions for the University of Washington?

No, we are not directly affiliated with admissions. However, math enrichment programs are generally percieved well by admissions committees, and we certainly believe that the skills we develop prepare you to succeed in college. Furthermore, continued involvement throughout high school may allow us to write you a strong recommendation letter: see “What happens after I graduate from the Circle?” for details.

## I have a different question.

Please contact Julia Pevtsova at: julia [at] math [dot] washington [dot] edu.