Instructors




Mihai Azimioara - Mr. Azimioara received his BS in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and his Master of Arts from Harvard University and is currently an Associate Scientist at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation. As a break from research in medicinal chemistry related to the role of small molecules in enzymatic reactions underlying disease, Mr. Azimioara enjoys teaching mathematics to young students. Besides doing so at SDMC, Mr. Azimioara teaches after-school enrichment classes in mathematics at Doyle Elementary School.









David Balmin - David Balmin earned his MS degree in Mathematics from Donetsk State University in the former U.S.S.R. He has worked as a computer software engineer over thirty years in the United States, specializing in scientific, mathematical, and engineering applications. In high school, he successfully participated in Math Olympiads. Currently retired from computer-related work, he now specializes in advanced math tutoring. David and his wife Ann and live in the San Carlos area of San Diego, not far from San Diego State University. Among his other interests are chess, music, foreign languages, developing Android mobile phone applications, reading, sailing and bicycle riding.









Jack Brennen - Jack Brennen is a Sr. Staff Engineer working for Qualcomm. He was very involved in math competition from ages 11 through 18, including 5 ARML competitions, 6 AHSME (now AMC-12) exams, 4 time MOSP participant and 3 time USAMO participant. In his HS senior year, he managed a perfect 8 on the ARML individual round, a 145 out of 150 on the AHSME, and an Honorable Mention on the USAMO. He still keeps busy with mathematical diversions, mostly in the field of computational number theory, and he believes that if a computer is powered on, it should be working on some sort of math problem.










Dr. David W. Brown - Dr. Brown received his Bachelors degree in mathematics and physics from Bucknell University, and his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Rochester. Following a career as an interdisciplinary research scientist at UCSD, his children led him to a heightened appreciation for the exceptional needs of gifted youth and to involvement with non-traditional education. Dr. Brown enjoys finding creative ways of opening young minds to new ideas. In SDMC he sees the opportunity to provide enriching experiences for talented young people who thrive on challenge, within a peer group that is self-selected for their aptitude and enthusiasm for mathematics.
As Director of SDMC, Dr. Brown seeks constantly to find ways to connect high-ability students with well-motivated professionals who have significant expertise. This includes advanced students, who may not yet possess a litany of advanced degrees, but who may understand what it means to struggle with the challenge of independent advanced learning.
In recent years, Dr. Brown has become involved with international math competitions involving Pacific Rim countries, as part of a effort to expose US students to the broader realities inherent in global competition.





Dr. Joe Buhler - Dr. Buhler received his Bachelor's Degree from Reed College in 1972 and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1977. He has been on the Mathematics faculty at Reed College in Portland, was the Deputy Director at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, and is currently the Director of the Center for Communications Research in San Diego. While at Berkeley he worked with the Berkeley Math Circle and the Bay Area Mathematics Olympiad committee, giving talks there on number theory, discrete geometry, and juggling.









Dr. Sam Buss - Sam Buss is Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at UCSD. His trek in mathematics began with a double major in math and physics at Emory University, followed by a Ph. D. in mathematics from Princeton. He then switched coasts, becoming a postdoc and then lecturer at UC Berkeley, finally arriving at UCSD for good. He has served UCSD and the Mathematics Department in numerous capacities, including Chair of Graduate Affairs and Chair of Undergraduate affairs, and Department Chair. Beyond his university duties, Prof. Buss has authored multiple books, edited numerous professional journals, and served as an organizer of innumerable professional conferences and events. What may strike a little closer to home for SDMC students, however, is the fact that Prof. Buss’ expertise in matters related to mathematical applications such as computer vision and physics modeling led to his collaboration with industry partners such as Rockstar Studios and Microsoft, leading to contributions to well-known video games such as Grand Theft Auto. Prof. Buss has been a long-time supporter of SDMC, ranging from his administrative support as past Chair of the Mathematics Department, to a long history of supporting our students with high quality instruction.







Dr. Irina Kufareva - Dr. Kufareva received a Master of Science in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1994 and 1999, respectively, both from Tomsk State University, Russia. She currently works as a computational biologist for the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. Working with youth and creative math problem solving are two of her greatest hobbies, so she spend her free time organizing and volunteering for middle and high school math clubs in Carmel Valley.











Janine LoBue Tiefenbruck - Janine is a graduate student at UCSD in the Mathematics Department as a GAAAN fellow. She is a 2009 graduate of Loyola College in Maryland (now Loyola University, Maryland) with a double major in Mathematical Sciences (concentration Pure Math) and Computer Science. While in college, she participated in the Putnam Exam and Mathematical Contest in Modeling and was a recipient of a Goldwater Fellowship in 2007.











Po-Shen Loh - Po-Shen received his bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees from Caltech, Cambridge, and Princeton, respectively, and is currently an Assistant Professor in Mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University. His research considers a variety of topics that lie at the intersection of Combinatorics, Probability, and Computer Science. As a student he was active in math competitions continuously from MATHCOUNTS through the Putnam, earning many distinctions along the way including a silver medal at the 1999 IMO. He has since held numerous support positions with the US IMO and is currently the National Lead Coach of the US IMO Team.










Dr. Yana Mohanty - Dr. Mohanty is a native of Odessa, Ukraine. She came to the United States in 1979. After graduating from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, she worked at Hughes Aircraft, and subsequently earned her Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In 1997 she started the doctoral program in Mathematics at UCSD, and graduated in 2002. Since then taught mathematics for 5 years at UCSD, and for 1 year at Palomar college. Dr. Mohanty is currently pursuing her Single Subject Teaching Credential in mathematics.










Dr. Lei Ni - Dr. Lei Ni - Dr. Ni earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Califorina, Irvine in 1998. He has served on the faculty of Purdue University and Stanford University. He is currently a Professor of Mathematics at UCSD. Prof. Ni’s research interests include differential geometry and partial differential equations, which includes elements of complex analysis. Prof. Ni has been a long-time supporter of SDMC, teaching classes for the full scope of our ability groups, from Fermat to Cauchy.











Dr. Dragos Oprea - Dr. Oprea received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from MIT in 2005. Since then he has been a Samuelson Fellow and Szego Assistant Professor at Stanford University. His research is in algebraic geometry and its interactions with mathematical physics. Dr. Oprea has taught a range of courses at Stanford and received MIT's Housman award for Excellence in Teaching. At UCSD, Dr. Oprea teaches lower and upper division courses such as calculus, and graduate courses in algebraic geometry and differential geometry. He has a history of involvement in the Romanian Mathematical Olympiad tradition, and is interested in bringing this perspective to SDMC students.










Dr. David Patrick - Dr. Patrick 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 also attended the Research Science Institute (RSI) in 1987 and the Math Olympiad Summer Program in 1988, and finished in the top 10 of the Putnam exam in 1991. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon in 1992 and earned his Ph.D. in mathematics at MIT in 1997. He wrote Art of Problem Solving's Introduction to Counting & Probability textbook.










Dr. Zikica Perovic - Dr. Perovic earned his Bachelors and Master of Science degrees from the University of Belgrade and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, in aspects of mathematical logic. Since, he has taught in the former Yugoslavia, in Minnesota and Ohio, and currently teaches at Mira Costa College. Dr. Perovic's main interest is in the area of ordered algebraic structures, and is particularly interested in Boolean algebras and model theory











Shannon Rogers - Shannon earned her bachelor's degree in Mathematics from UCLA. While attending UCLA, she spent many hours in classrooms at the UCLA Lab School and worked with the Los Angeles Math Circle. She was the Lead Instructor for the LAMC Junior Group in 2010, and spent the summer assisting math classes with Johns Hopkins University's Center For Talented Youth (CTY) summer programs. Shannon joined Art of Problem Solving in 2011, and is currently developing the workbooks for their Beast Academy series. Shes loves math jokes and all things combinatorics.










Richard Rusczyk - Mr. Rusczyk founded AoPS Inc in 2003 to create interactive educational opportunities for avid math students. Richard is one of the co-authors of the Art of Problem Solving textbooks, author of Art of Problem Solving's Introduction to Algebra and Introduction to Geometry textbooks, one of the co-creators of the Mandelbrot Competition, and the 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 graduated from Princeton University in 1993, helped inaugurate ESPN's SportsFigures program, 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. This year he is co-teaching a year-long series of SDMC classes onCounting and Probabilitybased on the Art of Problem Solving text Introduction to Counting and Probability, by David Patrick.








Naoki Sato - Mr. Sato won first place in the 1993 Canadian Mathematical Olympiad, and represented Canada at the 1992 and 1993 International Mathematical Olympiads, winning a bronze and silver medal, respectively. He has also served as deputy leader for the Canadian IMO team in 1997 and 2002. Naoki earned a Bachelor's in mathematics at the University of Toronto, and a Master's in mathematics at Yale University. He is originally from Toronto, Canada. Since 2005 he has been on the staff of The Art of Problem Solving.











Sam Shen - Dr. Shen is Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at San Diego State University. He received his B.Sc. in Engineering Mechanics in 1982 from the Nanjing University of Science and Technology, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985 and 1987, respectively. Formerly, Dr. Shen was McCalla Professor of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at the University of Alberta, Canada, and President of the Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society. He also held a variety of visiting positions at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, US Climate Prediction Center, and University of Tokyo.










Dr. Richard Stong - Dr. Stong received his bachelor's degree from Washington University and a doctorate from Harvard, and makes his San Diego home at the Center for Communications Research. Dr. Stong's research interest is in the topology of four-dimensional manifolds, which has practical applications for computer science. A silver medalist at the 1981 International Mathematical Olympiad, he continues to support mathematics competitions as a member of the USAMO Committee. As a professor at Rice University noted for the quality of his teaching and accessibility to students, to "Stong it" became a slang phrase among students meaning to ask Prof. Stong for help on challenging homework.









Carolyn Swayze - Carolyn has a BS in Engineering from The University of Michigan and an MS in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Northwestern University. She worked on the development of airbag sensor technology as an engineer in Detroit before moving to San Diego to start a family with her husband Eric. After several years as a full-time mom, Carolyn stepped up to coach the math team to support her son Thomas’s enthusiasm for math competitions. She now works part-time as a math teacher at The Rhoades School and helps support SDMC activities as an occasional instructor and as Parent Coordinator for the ARML team.










Mark Tiefenbruck - Bio TBA














Valentin Vornicu - Originally from Romania, Valentin has been involved with the Math Olympiad since middle school. Among many prizes and accolades, he ultimately won the Bronze Medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad in 2002, and has since coached numerous successful Olympiad students. Valentin also wrote the widely used Romanian text, "The Math Olympiad, from Challenge to Experience." Valentin holds a Master's in Mathematics from the University of Bucharest. Since 2004, he has worked as an instructor at AoPS. In his free time he enjoys basketball, soccer and the beach.










Dr. Chris Wright - Dr. Wright holds a PhD and an MS in Mathematics from Stanford University. He has served as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Duke University and a software engineer and designer. For the last ten years, he has devoted his time to teaching math in and around San Diego County and currently teaches at Pacific Ridge School. He is writing a series of math books for parents helping their children with math called Dr. Wright's Kitchen Table Math. This year Dr. Wright is co-teaching a year-long series of SDMC classes on Counting and Probability based on the Art of Problem Solving text Introduction to Counting and Probability, by David Patrick.










Wei Xu - Dr. Xu holds a BS in Math from Fudan University (China) and MS in Math from Zhejiang University (China) and received his PhD in Computer Graphics and Applied Mathematics from University of Texas at Austin. He teaches video game programming and fine art at several universities including Art Institute of California, UCSD Ext, and Zhejiang University (China). He is the author of books "Drawing in the Digital Age" (Wiley 2012) and《善用左脑学素描》(China, 2014). He was a former lead (software) engineer at Sony Computer Entertainment America - San Diego for video game R&D and has served as the head coach of Mesa Verde Middle School Math Club.










Hao Ye - Hao received his Bachelors degree from Caltech in Computer Science and is currently studying ecosystem dynamics and nonlinear forecasting as part of a Biological Oceanography degree. He was on the Maryland National MathCounts team, and was on his high school's ARML team for four consecutive years. He continues to be involved with high school youth through teaching SDMC classes and coaching our ARML team.












Sue Y. Xu (“Coach Young”): Sue received her BS and MS in Computer Engineering from Nanjing University, China. and her MS in Computer Science from Dartmouth College.  She worked as a bioinformatics programming analyst, lecturer, and IT consultant at Washington University in St. Louis, Harvard University, and the Italian National institute of Genetics and Biophysics. She has written open source programs for NIH sponsored genome sequencing and gene analysis programs, and lectured on using technology for science research. After moving to California, Sue worked as enterprise architect and technical program manager for both startup and fortune 500 companies. Currently she works at Sony Network Entertainment as Sr. release manager in San Diego, California. Sue also teaches undergraduate course Object Oriented Programming in Java at University of Phoenix San Diego campus. 








Dr. Ken Zeger - Dr. Zeger received Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 1984, and a Master of Arts in Mathematics and a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of California, Santa Barbara in 1989 and 1990, respectively. He was a Presidential Young Investigator in 1991 and became a fellow of IEEE in 2000. He is presently a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Co-Director of Information and Coding Laboratory at UCSD.










Dr. Paul Zeitz - Paul Zeitz is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of San Francisco and Director of the San Francisco Math Circle. In 1974 he won the USAMO and was a member of the first American team to participate in the IMO. The following year he graduated from Stuyvesant High School. He earned a Westinghouse scholarship and graduated from Harvard University in 1980. Since 1985, he has composed and edited problems for several national math contests, including the USAMO. He has helped train several American IMO teams, most notably the 1994 "Dream Team", the only team from any country to ever score a perfect 252 in the Olympiad. Zeitz founded the Bay Area Math Meet in 1994 and co-founded the Bay Area Mathematical Olympiad in 1999. In 1999 he wrote popular book The Art and Craft of Problem Solving and has recently created a video course with the same title for The Teaching Company. In 2003 Zeitz received from the MAA the prestigious Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for excellence in university teaching.







Dr. Yuanyuan Zhou - Yuanyuan Zhou is a Qualcomm Chair Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in the Jacobs School of Engineering at UCSD. Dr. Zhou’s research is focused on the challenges in designing the next generation of computing systems: energy and thermal management of data centers, software dependability, and storage systems. Prior to coming to UCSD, she was on the faculty at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, worked at NEC Lab as a scientist, and co-founded a storage startup company.












PAST INSTRUCTORS

 

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