Students and Counselors
Faculty and Colleagues  
Alum Reviews of PROMYS

Students and Counselors

“PROMYS changed my approach to mathematics. Never before had I been given so much freedom to experiment with problems, and the program's emphasis on the process of thinking mathematically instead of the results pushed me to be more creative. PROMYS also provided a collaborative environment of hard working, supportive, and mathematically curious peers as well as encouraging counselors. PROMYS fostered my curiosity and my appreciation for mathematics by pushing me to explore even seemingly simple concepts on a deeper level.”

Evelyn Choi
Student 2019 and 2020

“PROMYS is truly a once-in-a-lifetime mathematical learning experience. PROMYS is one of the most challenging and enriching experiences I have experienced in my life. I learned a lot of new things that I had never been exposed to through the mathematical activities and seminars. The research labs gave me an invaluable first experience in mathematical inquisition and research. PROMYS has been incredibly beneficial to me in my development as a budding mathematician. The social experience was incredible as well. PROMYS connected me with a network of new friends and peers from across the world who share the same love of math as I have.”

Henry Xie
Student 2019 and 2020

“PROMYS provides an environment where all students can struggle and work together as a community, everyone trying to gain a deeper understanding of mathematics. This community is what keeps PROMYS what it is, and it is this community that all participants of the program – students, counselors, and instructors – care most about. It has been a privilege to work with, benefit from, and give to the program, and I can only hope to stay connected to the wonderful people involved.”

Nir Elber
Student 2019 and 2020

“The PROMYS community is a group of incredibly supportive, passionate and generally amazing people and each time I return, I am somehow newly surprised at its capacity to energize, humble and amaze me. I am so glad for my last three years at PROMYS and everything it has taught me.”

Fiona Abney-McPeek
Student 2018 and 2019, Junior Counselor 2020

“For students like me who love mathematics and hope to pursue it for the rest of their lives, yet were born into a country/community where it isn't valued much, where opportunities in math are scarce – an international program like PROMYS is invaluable. It enables me to learn advanced topics in mathematics that otherwise would only be accessible, if ever, significantly later on in my life. Furthermore the pedagogic philosophy of PROMYS is not only perfect for mathematics, it also nurtures independence when it comes to mathematical exploration and self-learning. This broadens the horizon of many students, letting them create opportunities for themselves. I should also note that PROMYS also brings together interesting, accepting, clever and creative people invested in mathematics together. It creates a community of mathematics for attendees to be part of, and makes it so they are never lonely in their pursuit of mathematics for the rest of their lives. I don't know how my life would've been without PROMYS, for I don't want to think about it. 

Necef Alp Kavrut
Student 2020

“Math at PROMYS is so satisfying and different from all the school and competition math I have ever experienced! You learn everything from scratch and develop things all by yourself. I believe it is indeed the ‘bestest’ way to do math and PROMYS is designed to give you that experience!!”

Bhumika Mittal
Mehta Fellow 2020

“My entire mindset and approach to math has changed after PROMYS, and I've made friends here that I expect to last for a long time. The experiences I take away from my summer here are invaluable in making me question the fundamentals of everything I approach and feeding my desire to generalize and know more about everything I approach. The environment at PROMYS pushed me to be productive and work collaboratively with like-minded people, and the conversations I had with my friends at PROMYS were completely different than ones I could have with my friends at school. You're left open to work as in depth as you want on different problem sets, which lets you get out of the program however much you put in and motivates you to try even harder and look more in depth to mathematics in a low-stress environment. PROMYS was the best summer I've ever had, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a new insight into mathematics or for exposure to an amazing mathematical community!”

Neil Malur

Student 2019 and 2020

“PROMYS is a great place if you want to take a break from competitive studies and join a community where you study together, have fun, make friends, be helpful to each other and of course, enjoy the real essence of mathematics.”

Rahul Adhikari
Student 2020

“PROMYS is an incredible experience, and I really wish that more of the learning and studying at school would happen in the PROMYS style.”

Maria Morariu
Student 2020

“PROMYS really helps being able to learn things with the principle of exploring things on your own. It is very different from the formulaic structure taught in most high school math classes. For me, this has made a significant difference on how I view learning material. I used to read books and watch lectures to absorb information without trying to see the insights on my own. After the program, I hope to implement some of the process of how to learn something new in my own pursuit of mathematics.”

Toyesh Jayaswal
Student 2020

“PROMYS taught me to appreciate mathematics in a completely new way. I was taught to investigate results on my own, make bold conjectures, and prove the most basic of theorems. The program encouraged a deeper understanding of mathematics, rather than just accepting notions given in a textbook...The program was definitely not the easiest, but the struggle was worth it in every way. I met a community of other inspired students who shared my interests, and made many new friends that supported me both mentally and mathematically. The collaborative atmosphere encouraged individual achievement rather than competing with others, which I loved. ”

Richard Chen
Student 2019 and 2020

“Before going to PROMYS, I felt like math was all about knowing the most tricks that could help you solve problems, but PROMYS helped me learn that the understanding behind something that works is more important, and is ultimately a more valuable pursuit. If you are someone interested in math, then I definitely recommend coming to PROMYS. The environment at PROMYS is very encouraging for people who love math to keep learning math.”

Aaryan Prakash
Student 2019 and 2020

“The PROMYS Bridge program was very hype! I was amazed that PROMYS was able to maintain a community of passionate peers to work, play, and converse with despite the pandemic. It's great that people from all over the world could come together and bond over their shared love for math!”

Simon Sun
Student 2019 and 2020

“This was the best summer of my life. PROMYS is all about thinking hard and having fun. Thinking and exploring really helped me grow intellectually. PROMYS made me sure that I want to become a mathematician. I also met lots of great people who I'm definitely going to stay in touch with.”

Vruddhi Shah
Mehta Fellow 2020

“The online program brought together people from all 3 PROMYS programs across the world for an amazing summer.”

Alexander Arnell
Student 2019 and 2020

“PROMYS was the hardest I've ever worked but also the most fun I've had.”

Nancy Xu
Student 2018 

“Coming to PROMYS was, without a doubt, the best decision I ever made. PROMYS approaches mathematics differently than schools and allows students to experience math themselves. The problem sets build upon each other and are intentionally designed to guide students into experiencing, rediscovering, and ultimately proving fascinating theorems from previous results. PROMYS made me feel like a true mathematician for the first time in my life. At PROMYS, I was surrounded by kids that all love math as much as I did. The collaborative environment at PROMYS allowed me to grow both socially and intellectually. Being a part of the PROMYS community made it the best summer of my life."

Deyuan Li
Student 2018

"I think that PROMYS is honestly the best way I could have spent my summer. I met so many wonderful friends that I'll have for life, and the math that I did not only taught me just math, but developed in me a completely different way of thinking. I think PROMYS definitely achieves its goal in cultivating the next generation of young scientists, and I'd never thought I could have so much fun doing math and research. I would highly recommend PROMYS to anyone considering it!"Coming to PROMYS was a life-changing experience for me. I came in as a first year, confident that I had a pretty good grasp of what mathematics was like, but I was never more mistaken in my life. The process of proving concepts with complete rigor and discovering hidden gems in number theory gave me a much, much deeper insight into mathematics. At PROMYS, the environment is perfect for problem-solving; the atmosphere is purely collaborative and not competitive. I often found myself enjoying the process of solving problems more than the actual solutions themselves. "

Jiahua Chen
Student 2018 and 2019

"Some choose to call PROMYS transformative, unique, unparalleled, life-changing, breathless, invaluable, exceeding expectations, and of course it deserves all of the hype it gets. PROMYS is one of those things that all aspiring mathematicians, number theorists or not, should experience at least once in their lifetimes. Beyond the math, it teaches a way of thinking, living even. You start from the very beginning: 1+1=2?!! Already a profound conclusion, but don't worry, it only gets better from there. Each insight builds upon everything else that came before it, and you end up feeling like you have to solve a hundred different problems to reach an interesting conjecture you made, and when you finally do it, boy does it feel good. It's the process that develops into a mindset, an endless crave for more insight, forever asking the question "Why?" and fully appreciating all of the little concepts and ideas that are hidden behind each profound conclusion. This I believe, is something has applications that extend beyond camp and even math, a skill that is definitely generalizable, but that's your job at PROMYS: generalize!"

Justin Shan
Student 2019

"PROMYS is too amazing to adequately summarize in a matter of words. What can I possibly say to describe the best twelve weeks of my life? Nothing I write here will be able to describe the sheer wonder and joy I experienced at PROMYS. I'm so glad I made the decision to attend for the past two summers."

Poonam Sahoo
Student 2018 and 2019

"I loved the program and I will remember it all my life."

Arghya Sarkar
Mehta Fellow, PROMYS 2019

"As a second year, the research projects and advanced seminars didn’t disappoint. After six weeks, I felt that I had a better idea of what “learning math” truly is. I made friends who were always willing to talk about math, whether it was in the dining hall, after class, or in the dorm. With these friends, I made some of the most important mathematical discoveries of my life--some of which were made in the classroom, while others in the dorm around 3 AM. After many false starts, incorrect conjectures, and confusion, the feeling of accomplishment and ecstasy after finally cracking a particularly tough problem is indescribable. From research to number theory to frisbee, PROMYS has it all. 

I am deeply grateful to PROMYS for providing me, without a doubt, the best two summers of my life."

Nathan Sun
Student 2017 and 2018

“PROMYS made me understand what it means to truly know something, and that there was so much seemingly basic math that I didn't know in this way. PROMYS also made me want to understand things with this type of clarity, and this is something that I'll carry with me, wherever I go. But PROMYS as a mathematical experience is amazingly multidimensional. In addition to the emphasis on developing oneself as a mathematician, there is an incredible community of counselors and campers who help you achieve this.

Also, the people at PROMYS are amazing, in pretty much every way there is."

Nikhil Kalghatgi
Student 2018

“PROMYS challenged me in ways high school mathematics could not: for the first time in my life, I experienced what it was like struggling to understand ideas, having to search for answers on my own, and coming out with an intuitive understanding. Conversations gave me a picture of what it was like to pursue mathematics as a career, informing me in ways that course descriptions couldn’t. I felt encouraged, supported, and loved by the community, and PROMYS provided a motivating environment to pursue work in, where I felt I could be productive…

PROMYS was a breathless experience. There were no beats skipped to rest: even sleep didn’t feel like a break from the learning, problem-setting, socializing, having fun. Yet I never felt tired: the people were energetic and passionate; the math was engaging and interesting. PROMYS changed me and where my life is going, in an overwhelmingly positive way."

CJ Quines
Student 2018

"It was really hard and I struggled a lot, but thank god I did. PROMYS was an amazing experience."

Thomas Tran
Student 2018

“The goals of PROMYS are to encourage students to connect deeply with the creative side of math and instill in them habits of thought that will make them successful in all scientific fields. These goals were absolutely achieved. Rather than being spoon-fed mathematics, we were pushed to discover mathematical results for ourselves through rigorous problem sets, and we discovered the beautiful structure of mathematical patterns. We learned that math is in fact an empirical science, and through our experience at PROMYS, we learned how to approach truly difficult problems…

PROMYS is an invaluable experience. At PROMYS, I truly deepened my understanding of math and most importantly, I learned how to structure my thinking that I know will benefit me in whatever math or science-related field I choose to pursue. Through engaging Number Theory lectures and advanced seminars, I learned to approach seemingly impossible problems with a curious mindset. Through rigorous problem sets and challenging lab projects that pushed us to discover mathematical results for ourselves, I learned to experiment with math to gain intuition, make bold conjectures, and communicate mathematical results precisely. But more than the math, PROMYS brings together an amazing group of students - hard-working, passionate about math, funny, and kind. I'm going to miss getting to collaborate with and hang out with them the most.”

Caroline Choi
Student 2017 and 2018

“If I could do this every summer, I would. I loved this program and everything that comes with it. I absolutely enjoyed my counselor and new friends and I want to thank everyone that made this possible…

It doesn't matter what background you may have, you're still going to learn a lot here. The point of this program isn't to learn math, but learn to collaborate with others and to analyze new topics independently. Going to PROMYS helped me not only gain new skills, but strengthen old ones. It gave me a whole new perspective in math and has honestly changed to way I think about a lot of things. One thing that stuck to me throughout the program and even after it was "to think simply of deep things". This quote can accurately describe the whole program.”

Whitney Maurilus
Student 2018

"PROMYS was an onslaught from all sides but in the best way possible. Not only did I learn a lot of new math, but I've gained a newfound respect and love for number theory and the way of thinking PROMYS encourages in its students. My entire mindset and approach to math has changed after PROMYS, and I've made friends here that I expect to last for a long time. The experiences I take away from my summer here are invaluable in making me question the fundamentals of everything I approach and feeding my desire to generalize and know more about everything I approach. The environment at PROMYS pushed me to be productive and work collaboratively with like-minded people, and the conversations I had with my friends at PROMYS were completely different than ones I could have with my friends at school. You're left open to work as in depth as you want on different problem sets, which lets you get out of the program however much you put in and motivates you to try even harder and look more in depth to mathematics in a low-stress environment. PROMYS was the best summer I've ever had, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a new insight into mathematics or for exposure to an amazing mathematical community!"

Neil Malur

Student 2019

"My experiences at PROMYS went far beyond my expectations. It gave me the invaluable experience of exploring the field of number theory from the bare minimum (having to rigorously explain why even the most basic properties about integers are indeed true) to powerful mathematical machinery by the end of the program. It forced me to ponder which results or ideas can be assumed or have to be rediscovered and proven. I’ve also learned to be resourceful while developing an axiomatic inventory for the integers, as well as deeply reflect on the motivation and significance of each theorem from a theoretical standpoint. Through the daily challenging problem sets which provided guidance on this journey to explore number theory, PROMYS has taught me that mathematics is a discipline of exploration, inquiry, collaboration, and perseverance.

However, PROMYS was also remarkable for its community of incredibly driven and inspiring peers who also share a love for mathematics. Every day at PROMYS was packed with not only hours of contemplating difficult problems, but also breaks of socializing – letting loose and having fun. The counselors and students were supportive, passionate, and had a profound positive impact on my perspective of mathematics. I strongly appreciate the friends formed, the memories made, and deep mathematical insights picked up throughout these six weeks. PROMYS has truly been a transformative and unparalleled experience."

Daniel Kim

Student 2019

"PROMYS was a real eye-opener for me. It taught me how to understand every detail clearly and not be blinded by assumed knowledge. The saying "Think Deeply of Simple Things" carries a deeper meaning than you can imagine. PROMYS taught me to be independent in math, how not to always rely on some teacher to teach that topic to me or some book. Here at PROMYS lI earnt to develop each topic from mere scratch, which is actually a great deal of brain-work and loads of fun! You can't imagine the happiness you will have when you know that you have proved Quadratic Reciprocity without ANY external help or source or reference, ALL BY YOURSELF!!

One last great thing about PROMYS was that it was collaborative and not competitive which actually accurately reproduces the scenario of Research Mathematics that we would be facing in our Future.

And remember one thing 'Think Deeply of Simple Things!!!!'"

Deepta Basak
Mehta Fellow 2019

"PROMYS really allowed me to connect with my peers, and most importantly, allowed me to grow more as a person. By pursuing my passion in mathematics with the program, I learned more about my character and personality than any other program I have ever attended."

Eric Tang
Student 2018

“The goal of the program, to create thinkers as opposed to simply math students who can parrot back formulas and processes, was definitely achieved because the problems were so difficult. If the work had been any easier, it would have been more efficient to memorize the process to solve a problem. Since the questions were incredibly challenging, it was more effective to learn to reason, to think deeply of simple things…

PROMYS is a place where enthusiastic students start to mature into mathematicians.”

Rebecca Mendum
Student 2018

“I learnt a lot and made a lot of friends. Also I learnt that math is really what I want to do in my life and I am really grateful to have had such a great experience at PROMYS…

PROMYS really showed me why math is so important and fascinating.”

Katharina Schindegger
Student 2018

“PROMYS was amazing”

Poonam Sahoo
Student 2018

“I think the goals of the program were to show students how it was like to think like a number theorist, to begin with seemingly trivial items such as the definition of integers and gradually building up to really intricate and beautiful ideas like QR and facts about primes. Also, another major goal of the program that I think was achieved amazingly was changing or fostering a new way of thinking. The problem sets especially helped me to think in different ways, either to finish a proof or find a slicker solution to a numerical…

Sometimes, problems can be hard to solve, and challenges may seem impossible. However, if you stick through to the end, you'll see some very satisfying results.”

Eric Tang
Student 2018

“The goals of the program were to make its participants explore Number Theory in an unique way, by doing a lot of numerical experiments, making conjectures and trying to prove them. It was a math-research like experience, where you get to build something on your own. I think PROMYS did a great job at fulfilling this goal, and it was highly successful…

PROMYS was easily the best mathematical experience that I have ever had. I never explored number theory before, and the way I did at PROMYS was very enjoyable. Here we get an opportunity to develop things ourselves in our own original way, which is not very feasible if you are exploring math at school or by yourself. The depth of math at PROMYS is remarkable, wherein we write proofs in the most rigorous fashion possible, which inculcates in us a very important skill as a mathematician. Overall, it’s an experience that is one of a kind, and something that I will always remember throughout my life.”

Siddhant Chaudhary
Student and Mehta Fellow 2018

“Honestly, I absolutely LOVED the program. The people were so smart, intellectual, and amazing! Everyone was very accomplished and I felt like any conversation with anyone was very interesting. PROMYS gave me a lot of freedom to explore mathematics in any way I wanted. I feel like the program ends up being what you make it because of that. If you choose to stay focused and embrace learning and meeting dedicated people, this is what the program will give you. But most importantly, I think PROMYS taught me that I know how to work hard. Before coming to the program, I rarely spent more than an hour/week on math homework, despite doing mathematics at a very high level. At PROMYS, it took me a solid three days to prove that there are no integers between 0 and 1. PROMYS showed me how much I truly love and appreciate math and it has seriously made me consider pursuing a career in the field, despite the fact that for most of my life I have wanted to become a surgeon. I cannot put into words how much this experience has meant to me and I 1000% recommend this to anyone who wants I life-changing summer. I made really close friends, and had a lot of fun, so many many thanks!!!!!!!”

Anna Mikhailova
Student 2018

“I have loved and learned so much from PROMYS these past three years. The spirit of exploration and discovery and sharing of knowledge here is unparalleled, the people here are the most wonderful people I've ever met, the math here is challenging and so much fun, and every year here at PROMYS is a new and amazing learning experience. The number theory program is very well designed, so that every first-year student has a deep, personal experience with the integers. Thank you for the best six weeks (times three) of my life!”

Michelle Qin
Student 2016 and 2017, Junior Counselor 2018

“Elementary and middle school teach one to take too much for granted, causing one's mental set of axioms to be too large and non-independent. This flawed and incomplete understanding of the integers can prevent one from understanding other numerical systems, since they lack many of the properties of the integers that we take for granted. PROMYS clears the cobwebs away from this, exposing the hand-waving and circular logic of elementary school, and building the integers from the ground up in a no-nonsense way. Then, by introducing other numerical systems and treating them the same way, as well as exposing their connections with each other and the integers, PROMYS shows one how to derive truly mind-blowing results in unexpected ways.”

Franklin Pezzuti Dyer
Student 2018

“PROMYS was perhaps the greatest six weeks of my life -- I'll never forget the amazing friends I made here, and the math I learned :)”

Andrew Wu
Student 2018

“PROMYS is one of the best experiences in my life. I had long hoped for an environment where I study by exploring on my own, and PROMYS creates exactly this environment. Instead of being told the answer to a question or a pattern, we were encouraged to discover them by ourselves through the problem sets. When I was truely stuck on some problems, any PROMYS person would be more than happy to offer help, not by telling me the answer directly, but by asking me good questions that can lead me to a certain direction.”

Yiyang Liu
Student 2018

"Number theory is a vast and beautiful branch of mathematics. PROMYS is about getting the essence of Number Theory. Like the subject, the program is beautiful and aims at giving everyone a good picture of Number theory. We're taught to 'Think deeply of simple things', and discover math in our own way. One gets to see how our experience with math is what that matters the most and forms the basis for our proofs. I learnt the importance of making bold conjectures, and the role that long cumbersome yet interesting numerical examples play in it. 

PROMYS is a place for math lovers. Being a first year Fellow at PROMYS will remain an unforgettable experience for me. During the six week program, I fell in love, not only with number theory but with the program itself."

Arpoitri Ghosal
Student and Mehta Fellows in 2018

“PROMYS enhanced my proof writing ability a lot. Also, the way my counselor graded my problem sets and gave me daily feedback was invaluable… Also, I was kind of anti-social before PROMYS, but here I talked to a lot to other students and counselors, who have come from different parts of the world, not just about maths but also about their lives in general, and now I can talk to people a lot more freely… PROMYS has been the best mathematical experience of my life." 

Anupam Datta
Student and Mehta Fellow in 2018

“PROMYS has helped me a lot in discovery of mathematics and build up number theory myself, with background support directing me at every step. Since the program is so intensive and so well structured, one actually feels the heavenly bliss of reasoning at every step. What seemed to be an obligation at first turned into a hobby later. This gave the feeling of a real mathematician - experimenting with numbers, conjecturing some beautiful lemmas and theorems, and proving some of them - just the way number theory had originally developed. PROMYS could stand as one of the few epitomes for education.”

Nilava Metya
Student and Mehta Fellow in 2018

"As a Mehta Fellow, I think I have benefited mathematically from PROMYS. 

- The six-week immersion in mathematics was very helpful to progress.
- The morning lectures were very engaging. Different approaches to solve problems were discussed.
- The problem-sets were challenging and well-designed.
- We were encouraged to think, explore, make several observations & conjectures, proving/disproving them, etc which I enjoyed a lot.
- Mathematical rigour was essential. This helped to get a better understanding.
- The daily comments/feedback on our problem sets (by our counsellors) was very helpful as they indicated to us where exactly we are going wrong, where we have to pay more attention, etc.
- Exposure through mini-lectures by the counsellors.
- The guest lectures were enriching.
- Also, I got to know that there could be totally different approaches to solve a problem (like solving a Number Theory problem using a geometric approach). This was amazing.

I feel I have benefited from being a Mehta Fellow, beyond mathematics too. I got in touch and interacted with many students, counsellors and professors from different parts of the world, who are also deeply interested in mathematics. The PROMYS community was very much welcoming and supportive. I'll definitely stay in touch with them." 

Medha Yelimeli
Student and Mehta Fellow in 2018

“I really got to experience how different things in math is actually interconnected behind the scene. As Professor Cohn says, math is full of conspiracy theory, and everything is somehow interconnected behind the curtain. The problems sets have led us to discover this for ourselves. 

Thinking deeply about simple things. Simple things may be simple, but there are a lot more to it if we think really hard about them and keep asking questions. It helps us really understand what mathematics is. 

I’ve learned how to explore math on my own. Exploration lab was kind of like my first research opportunity and it turned out to be awesome. I’ve got an idea how to discover the beauty of math by myself.  

I got the chance to stay in a diverse community. everyone was super nice and extremely smart. They are all very passionate about math. And since PROMYS is a diverse community, I’ve got the chance to learn about different cultures and how people study and think about math in different countries.  

Time management: PROMYS is mostly about math, but it’s much more. I’ve got to do many things everyday: working on parts, asking myself and thinking about deep math questions, exercise to stay healthy, talk to different counselors to learn about their experiences and their universities, playing with friends. I’ve got the opportunity to learn to balance my time between all these activities.  

PROMYS is different from most of the mathematical programs in China… I have done a lot of mathematics activities and none of them are similar to PROMYS. First of all, none of them are as long as PROMYS. I had never had a chance to do nothing but math for 6 weeks…The biggest difference is that we get to explore the world of mathematics by ourselves in PROMYS. In other places, the teachers always teach us how things worked before we get a chance to think about them.”

Zhiyuan Zhou
Student and Yongren Fellow in 2018

“Number Theory possesses not only truth, but beauty. PROMYS is all about the feeling of mathematical beauty, the harmony of numbers and the elegance of proofs. We are taught to think deeply of simple things. Yes, it’s challenging, but the end result is something elegant and timeless. The PROMYS community is incredibly supportive and collaborative, and they truly help you grow as a mathematician, thinker and person. The counselors and campers push you, while also motivating you and lending a helping hand. I have learned to be patient with myself at PROMYS and to have trust in the process. It was truly a unique experience, and made me love mathematics.” 

"My goals were to explore more mathematics this [second] summer and to challenge myself. These goals were achieved through a challenging research topic and an excellent second year course...I went to about half of the mini courses this year, which is a big jump from last year. I really enjoyed these, as they gave me a glimpse into a diverse array of interesting topics."

Briana Macedo
Student 2017 and 2018

“PROMYS is a place where you experience math and understand the elegance hiding behind patterns. The problem sets are arranged in such a good way that students have a chance to discover all the theorems themselves. It's a new way of learning mathematics that was not focused on memorizing facts but on exploration and discovery. I appreciate the opportunity offered by the Yongren Fellowship. It allowed me to pursue further math where my interests lie in. And PROMYS now gives me a new reason to wish that summer never ended.”

Zehong Zong
Yongren Fellow 2017 

“PROMYS was unlike any of my previous math experiences in school or contests; it was an opportunity to explore math over a period of days/weeks, to answer “why?” questions I had never before considered, to experience the process of math rather than just see the results. This process of proving concepts, starting from the simplest ideas and building up to more surprising conjectures, gave me a much deeper understanding of math and its internal connections. Not only did I learn more than I ever could have expected, but I also met people who I hope will be lifelong friends. PROMYS was a great experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Alexandra Hoey
Student 2017

“PROMYS is an eye opening program that gives students a firsthand experience of the exploration, collaboration, and precision involved in mathematics. PROMYS allows students to explore new ideas and challenges in the problem sets days before they are mentioned in morning lectures, so students acquire the ability to approach problems they have never seen before without being discouraged. PROMYS helped me realize the empirical nature of mathematics. Any simple result is only achieved by a long process of numerical examples, false starts, oversights, bold conjectures, and most importantly, asking new questions. The study is math is in no way the simple recitation of theorems or formulas, but rather, the exploration of unfamiliar scopes, the wrestling with new concepts, and the strides to understand the meaning behind each nice result; to think deeply of simple things. 

PROMYS also instills the value of collaboration in the pursuit of mathematics. Students are naturally encouraged to collaborate with others by discussing their thoughts, merging their ideas, and filling in the gaps in each other’s solutions. In fact, perhaps just as memorable as the math, if not more so, are the people. A community of both students and counselors who are always willing to talk about math, whether in the dining hall at meal time, at a game of frisbee, or late into the night, is a priceless environment I will treasure forever.”

Haneul Shin
2017 Breakout Fellow

"I think the point of PROMYS is to get people to think more deeply about things. Even when I'm sitting in a school math class, I see whatever lesson the teacher is doing and think, "Does this always work? Does it work in other rings? Does it work in polynomials?" PROMYS gave me a curiosity that had been kicked out of me by school, and made me really think deeply and carefully about simple things...PROMYS was absolutely the most fun I've ever had. Not only that, I really feel I've grown as a mathematician. Before PROMYS, I had no intention of studying math in college. Now? I fully intend to at least minor, and probably major in it. Thank you PROMYS, for making me realize just what's out there. Without a doubt, the best summer of my life."

Antonio Frigo
Student 2017

“PROMYS is an amazing mathematical experience, not only from the perspective of introducing new mathematics, ideas and thinking to inquisitive and creative minds. It is also, and perhaps more importantly, an arena for students and teachers with a common passion for math to meet and forge long-lasting friendships and connections. Personally, I was involved first with PROMYS as a counselor after my freshman year in college. I was lucky to meet several young mathematicians there whom I would reconnect with later in college, graduate school, and in my professional mathematical career (one of them became a long-term collaborator on several mathematical projects).

I am pleased to see that over the years, PROMYS has expanded in scope and in geographical reach. Now that the program is starting in India, I hope many students and teachers avail of this outstanding opportunity to bring the delight of doing and creating mathematics to the enormous pool of talent there.”

Abhinav Kumar
Counselor 1999


"Best math experience!!"

Max Yu
Student 2015 and 2016

"PROMYS was one of the most significant experiences I have had in my career to date. It was the first time that I was surrounded by such an incredible group of motivated, intellectually curious peers. While I currently do physics research and not mathematics, it certainly gave me my first taste of trying to solve complicated, unsolved problems....something I continue doing research to this day. I haven't stopped trying to think deeply of simple things as I've moved through chemistry, physics etc.

I also attended a small high school; interacting with the undergraduate mentors at PROMYS also gave me the confidence to apply to very competitive colleges (I applied/was admitted to both Harvard and MIT for undergraduate. Since no one from my high school had attended either, I"m not sure I would have applied had it not been for the interactions at PROMYS that made me feel like I could belong at a school like that)."

Student 2001

“My two summers at PROMYS were both eye-opening experiences. As a first year, I was introduced to "real math" for the first time and learned to think deeply about simple things. As a second year, I was exposed to really cool, advanced mathematics. Through the math, I learned how to problem solve, a skill that I am sure will help me no matter what I pursue in the future. At PROMYS, I also bonded with an amazing group of people who are passionate about math, hardworking, and kind. The PROMYS community is special, and I am lucky to be a part of it.”

Katherine Wu
Student 2016 and 2017

“PROMYS teaches mathematics on a level beyond what is offered at school. PROMYS is the place for students who love mathematics. This was the best summer I have ever had.”

Andrew Weinfeld
Student 2017

"PROMYS is a life-changing experience during which students discover the importance of critical thinking and cooperation -- two necessary skills for success in mathematics and life --."   

Eugene Shao
Student 2016 and 2017

“PROMYS really opened my eyes to the world of mathematics. I discovered so much these past 6 weeks, and a large part of what I discovered is that there is so much I do not know yet. After PROMYS, I want to keep learning, and I know that I can because I now have suggestions about books to look at, friends I can ask questions to, and experience thinking deeply about simple things. I'm so glad that I was able to experience PROMYS! ”

Catherine Rogers
Student 2017

“Coming back to PROMYS as a second-year was an amazing experience. I'd have to say that my favorite activity was actually revisiting the number theory itself - the second time around, I could see more clearly how the different, seemingly disjoint topics fit together. I learned how to prove theorems more rigorously and explore continued fractions, which was a topic that I shied away from the first year. Taking second year seminars was also a very satisfying experience because it allowed me to see how topics like lattices and unit groups generalized broadly to group theory and ideals. I believe that there is no limit to the amount of insight one can gain simply by revisiting number theory, over and over again.”

Mirilla Zhu
Student 2016 and 2017

“Before coming to PROMYS, I did not realize how weak of a foundation I had in mathematics. PROMYS definitely has changed me in how I understand and perceive math, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to pursue a future career in mathematics.”

Hahn Lheem
Student 2017

“PROMYS is more than just a summer program - It is an experience that will change your life. The path of discovery that one follows as a student of PROMYS is unique and will change your perception of mathematics. The problem sets showed me that mathematics demands one to make bold conjectures, while also giving substantial emphasis on rigor and proofs. The opportunities to explore mathematics at PROMYS are endless. I loved the diverse community I was part of at PROMYS. The chance to interact with students and counselors from around the world is truly enjoyable. I am extremely grateful to the sponsors of the Mehta Fellowships for giving me this wonderful experience.”

Siddharth Sridhar
Mehta Fellow 2017

"The program was collaborative not competitive, which made it unique. Everyone in PROMYS had exceptional mathematical talent and I made a ton of new friends…Watching lectures is a very ineffective way of learning. But here in PROMYS we had carefully arranged problem sets which were capable of making you discover the stuff by yourself. PROMYS provides unique perspectives and applications you won't find anywhere else."

Devansh Sehta
Mehta Fellow 2017

“The experience gave me a simplicity and clarity of thought that I never had before. It taught me not to be ashamed of being confused and that it is more important to ask the right questions than answering them.”

Adit Vishnu PM
Mehta Fellow 2016 and 2017

“PROMYS is the perfect platform for students around the world to enhance their mathematical skills, while at the same time generating a deep understanding about what "learning math" truly means. There is no limit to the mathematics a hungry mind can learn at PROMYS. As a second year, the assortment of advanced seminars and research were truly enlightening and fun. The counselors and the students are really great and welcoming, and I learnt a lot through the discussions we had. Every year at PROMYS changes you for the better, and I hope to continue having the PROMYS-experience for summers to come!"

Arya Vadnere
Mehta Fellow 2016 and 2017

“In PROMYS, we have fun doing serious mathematics. Here "an answer is only worth as much as the questions it inspires" and "the goal is to see facts as so deeply embedded in mathematics that you cannot help proving them". I just quoted Glenn and Henry and I think that is a simple and nice description of PROMYS.”

Soumen Ghosh
Mehta Fellow 2016 and 2017

“My PROMYS experience convinced me that I wanted to be a mathematician.”

Qiaochu Yuan
Student 2006  Counselor 2012

"PROMYS was my first experience of 'real mathematics' – it was very different from the classroom and contest math that I had previously done. Participating in the program helped me to realize that I definitely want math to be a part of my future."

Mirilla Zhu
Student 2016

"PROMYS is an environment for learning at the deepest level possible. Plowing through concepts yourself and looking to others only for the polishing of ideas you develop on your own allows for a level of understanding and a joy in one's accomplishments incomparable to any alternate method of instruction."

Paco Poler
Student 2016

"PROMYS is such a wonderful, rewarding experience because it reveals a side of mathematics that can’t be found in school. For six weeks, students and counselors devote themselves wholeheartedly to the world of mathematics. Rather than being spoon-fed theorems and formulas, students are forced through the process of rediscovering--and proving--all their results. This process of going beyond simply solving the problem, of discovering the motivation and underlying structure brings to light the beauty and elegance of math. This is math as it is meant to be experienced, in all its wonderful frustrations and flashes of insight.

But above all, it’s the community that is the hallmark of PROMYS. Kind and hilarious, friendly and supportive, faculty, guests, counselors, and friends made it a pleasure to live and breathe the world of math for a summer. It was humbling to work alongside so many brilliant minds."

Barry Xu
Breakout Fellow 2016

"In high school math class, the results of centuries of mathematical work is presented, yet the experiences behind these discoveries are largely ignored. At PROMYS, I was able relive the experiences of renowned mathematicians like Euler and Gauss. Only then did I encounter true mathematics. PROMYS made me realize that mathematics is not simply a bag of formulas, but a journey of self-discovery and reward. For me, PROMYS proved to be an unforgettable intellectual adventure."

David Lu
Student 2016

"PROMYS is truly a special program in its structure, goals, people, and methods. PROMYS helps students find their own ways of doing math while encouraging them to work with others. The camp pushed me to discover that there is much more to mathematics than solving a problem in a fixed amount of time. Instead, doing mathematics is an organic process, full of false starts, conjectures, examples, doubts, and finally, clarity. The students, counselors, and staff at PROMYS are all committed to this idea, and everyone learns this concept more fully throughout camp. 

PROMYS is a wonderful experience because it is so different from what most people view as mathematics. Instead of isolation, the PROMYS community is vibrant and tightly knit by the beauty of mathematics and discovery. Instead of fierce competition, students solve problems at their own pace and guide and support each other. PROMYS is also full of fun and laughter. Indeed, how could it not be so? PROMYS shows that mathematics is not dry, but vivid; not boring and tedious (most of the time), but complex yet very structured. With an environment of doing mathematics so deeply, so beautifully, how can one not enjoy the experience? I know that I will remember PROMYS my entire life."

Karen Ge
Student 2016

"Attending PROMYS this summer has been the best summer experience I have ever had. Coming here made me appreciate both the immense amount of hard work required to do mathematics and the immense feeling of satisfaction that comes with discovering a new mathematical idea. PROMYS forced me to dig deep and find creative and elementary proofs of various results, giving me a deeper understanding both the idea and the motivation behind it. Completing the problem sets gave me a more complete understanding and appreciation of mathematics and the way in which it is done. It is truly a shame that mathematics is not taught like this in school."

Patrick Lei
Student 2016

"My daily talk with my counselor was my favorite part of each day… 

I was once told by my favorite counselor, 'If you're the smartest one in the room, you're in the wrong room.' I shall take these words to my grave as this has given me brand new insight about my life."

Alexander Rodriguez
Student 2016

"PROMYS was an incredible experience that I will never forget. I was amazed by the collaborative atmosphere and the friendliness of everyone involved, and I know that I've made friends for life. PROMYS taught me how to think for myself and how to consider math in a completely different way than is taught in schools. It made me appreciate the process of solving a problem instead of just the solution itself, and I learned so much more from staring at problems for hours, trying different approaches, than from being told the answers. This was a summer full of mathematical discovery, and it was the most rewarding 6 weeks of my life."

Amanda Li
Student 2016

"The goals of the PROMYS program were to help the students discover mathematics by thinking deeply of simple things and to appreciate such simplicities. These goals were definitely met since the problem sets motivated us to find the patterns behind the numbers and to make bolder conjectures that we sought to prove. Through mathematical rigor, we were guided to understand the structures of different mathematical systems. Through the coalescence of seemingly distant notions, we recognized the beauty of mathematics. PROMYS was truly an invigorating experience that motivated me to learn more mathematics through discovery."

Sathwik Karnik
Student 2016

"I feel that the ideology of this program was most beneficial for me. Mathematical rigor is very crucial, but very few programs or courses actually emphasize it's importance sufficiently. The importance of rigor was a key thing I learnt at PROMYS. Moreover I enjoyed the experience of making your own conjectures, working your own inventory of lemmas and proving them, and building number theory from bare bones to higher theorems. The structure of the program, in which you do the problem sets on your own to discover number theory is a very beneficial one...

The opportunities for learning and research at PROMYS are endless, and foremost teach you how to learn things the right way - be it number theory or anything else. The PROMYS community is really great and co-operative. This experience is truly worth a summer and more!"

Arya Vadnere
2016 Mehta Fellow to PROMYS

"Promys has given me a new perspective to Mathematics. The lectures taught me to chase simplicity and elegance instead of complexity. The problem sets pushed me to frontiers I had never explored or even knew existed. They also showed me how mathematics was an empirical science with lots of conjectures to be made from numerical observations. The amount of mathematics I saw at Promys amazed me. The Promys community was always supportive and a place where anyone could find another with similar interests. Just as much as Promys has contributed to my Mathematical endeavors, it has also made a radical change in how I perceive life. Promys, without doubt has been one of the best six weeks of my life."

Adit Vishnu Pathirissery Manoj
2016 Mehta Fellow to PROMYS

"...PROMYS is basically a math-lover's paradise! I can't think of anywhere else I would rather spend my summer."

Aadeesh Shastry
Student 2016

"It has been an enlightening and delightful summer full of maths, insight and great people … At PROMYS, you will certainly have to work hard, pushing your horizons and thinking in new ways, but the challenges presented and the environment provided is perfect for this – to advance you mathematically and philosophically.  It’s undoubtedly been the most productive summer I’ve ever had...an odyssey of self-discovery, mathematical learning and fun."

Bohan Yu (UK)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013, 2014

"When I was a toddler, just learning to count, add, and multiply, I found a deep and profound beauty in the numbers, which appeared all around me. As I grew older, this beauty seemed to fade away, especially in school, where mathematics was unfortunately largely taught by rote practice. PROMYS let me rediscover this beauty in mathematics and explain it. " 

Shuvom Sadhuka
Student 2015

"My expectations of the program were to be stretched to my mathematical limits, and I was...Everyone there was motivated to grow, and there was no competitive environment, just a collaborative one."

Daniel Lin
Student 2015

"The purpose of the program seemed to be, to me, to burrow into the stem cells of mathematics using the eyes and ears of our minds. I fell in love with something I thought I knew all over again. The program achieves its goals spectacularly. ….Even when I wasn’t directly working on mathematics, my brain was swimming it." 

Shakthi Shrima
Student 2013, 2014

“PROMYS has been what I most look forward to for the last three years.”

Roger Van Peski
Student 2012, 2013, 2014

“I have greatly benefited from my time at PROMYS. I have learned a lot, but also I have developed a lot of skills of a bold and curious explorer. Every element of the program makes it the best!At the other places where I was learning math, students were competing, while at PROMYS students only help each other and cooperate with each other.

Guest lectures have had a great influence on my attitude toward math. So called “applied math” turned out to be sometimes no different from “pure math” with the exception that more people want to know the results of “applied” math! I have learned that math is actually very close to real life while I used to doubt it.

My experience at PROMYS and Oxford Masterclass taught me that while there’re a lot of things to learn, there’re a lot more to discover… I didn’t expect we would go this deep into some fields of mathematics, but we did and that was great!After this wonderful journey into math, I’ve realized that my curiousity about mathematics transformed into more mature interest which I am intending to follow.”

Polina Belopashentseva (Russia)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

“I learned much and more mathematics here, and it was greater than I could have imagined, it really fueled my love for the sub­ject. Nevertheless, I think that I have learned some things of even greater importance, the most influential of which certainly is a very general, humble attitude of the mind — to think about mathematics as an explorative experience rather than a deductive language, to always think thoroughly and carefully, even about simple things, and to reflect upon what one is doing.

It shouldn’t be shorter, because at the end of the sixth week, everything came together beautifully, and because in order to really focus and understand (“feel”) the core ideas of PROMYS, a long period of time is necessary. I wouldn’t mind if it were longer, and it could only get better that way, but that would create difficulties when embedding PROMYS into the summer holidays (and generally, into the lives) of the participants.”

Lucas Mann
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013 and Counselor 2014

"When I was in middle school and high school, I had a lot of teachers who encouraged me in mathematics, gave me extra problems, let me self-study and work at my own pace. In high school, I attended PROMYS, a math summer camp at Boston University. There I met other high school students who were deeply into math. Our counselors were college undergraduate math majors from places like Harvard, MIT, Yale, and many other great schools. They were a cool, smart, and funny pack of characters that I loved hanging out with and wanted to be like. That program made me see that I could be a math major and pursue a research career as well. To this day, I encounter some of these same individuals that I knew in math camp who have dispersed over the STEM fields."  In response to question, "What inspired you to work in STEM?"

Carolyn Phillips
Student 1993 Counselor 1995
From Dr. Phillips's 2015 U.S. Department of Energy profile 

“I can confidently say that my most memorable summers were the two exciting summers at PROMYS. PROMYS is a vacation from the rest of the world, where young scientists flourish into successful mathematicians…It is quite astounding to imagine that just six weeks would provide me such an extensive introduction to the world of research mathematics, but through PROMYS, I was fully empowered with an appreciation for the beauty of mathematics. The rigorous nature of PROMYS enriched me with the pride of discovery, as I was able to unveil the secrets of number theory and other advanced topics through my work on the problem sets and by attending intriguing lectures. PROMYS is an intensive journey in mathematics that emphasizes rigor and promotes learning. For me, PROMYS was the highlight of my high school years, an invigorating experience that enlightened me with the glory and revelations of mathematics.” 

Karthik Karnik
Student 2014, 2015 

“I think the main goal of PROMYS is to make one understand the importance of taking time to think deeply of simple things. Rather than memorize and apply formulas blindly, knowing why such theorems are true is much more important. PROMYS has molded my mindset toward problem-solving and showed me the beauty behind mathematics…PROMYS is a really great place to learn math but it provides much more; there are tons of different activities and an amazing community.” 

Matthew Hase-Liu
Student 2015 

"I can confidently say that PROMYS has been the best vacation of my life. Vacation, for normal people, is a time when one relaxes in some exotic location. For me and other people there, PROMYS is a vacation where we challenge ourselves, attend lecture every morning and work on problem sets for 6-7 hours everyday. It doesn't sound like a vacation but trust me, its the most fun I've ever had. I'm very grateful to Morph.org and the PROMYS Foundation for giving me this wonderful opportunity of exploring the beautiful subject that is mathematics." 

Shubham Aggarwal
Tara and Jasubhai Mehta Fellow 2015

"PROMYS was an amazing program which gave me a totally new way of doing mathematics especially different from the olympiad/ competition math I had done before. On the long run, the PROMYS problem sets which are much akin to doing research will definitely help me better not only in my career, but also to develop a exploration based "Think deeply of simple things" themed mathematical thinking. The topics I learned in the guest lectures, counselor talks and during informal discussions have given me insight to graduate level topics which gives a much deeper understanding of what I am doing now. PROMYS has given me a new motivation and energy to do more math."

Sabir Shaik
Tara and Jasubhai Mehta Fellow 2015

“I came out of my first year newly appreciative of mathematics' depth and breadth, and out of my second with a hardened resolve and a greater craftiness in tackling apparently intractable problems.”

Eric Wang
Student 2013, 2015

"I think this is the only summer camp for budding mathematicians where the need for rigorous proof is realized. At PROMYS we were made to prove many things that were simple but not at all easy. The words uttered by Prof. Glenn Stevens are imprinted upon my heart “Simple is not equal to Easy”. We were made to realize that the mathematical lemmas and proofs many of which seem to be very simple and intuitive to us now were not at all easy to prove at the time they were discovered & proved by many great mathematicians, who had struggled to prove these things. The other thing that I like about PROMYS is that we were never told the solutions of the problem set as this helps to increase our creativity and problem solving abilities because when we struggle for solving problems ourselves we come to know about the thought process of the great people who have tread this tedious path. I myself think that one should never even see a hint of a problem because then our thought process is biased and even after solving the problem we don’t get full satisfaction. When we solve a problem ourselves this can also lead to an unconventional and more elegant solution to the problem. Even if that solution is lengthy that will give us a lot of contentment because that is our own solution. Such an evolutionary thought process can lead to some kind of global transformation for the benefit of mankind."

Kushagr Mohan Ahuja
Breakout Fellow 2015

“In six wonderful weeks, PROMYS helps develop your math skills with problem sets and lectures. There were times of frustration when a difficult problem was encountered, but there were also times of satisfaction, when a beautiful solution is found. But PROMYS is also so much more than just the math. Here you get to know the wonderful people who are all extremely smart, hardworking, and dedicated people. Together, you will bond over the course of six weeks and make memories that you will cherish for a very, very long time.”

Kara Luo
Student 2014, 2015

“PROMYS was definitely the best summer of my life. I actually was deciding between two courses of action for the summer, but I'm infinitely grateful that I chose this one…PROMYS gives students a chance to spend 6 weeks with a group of truly unique, talented, and brilliant mathematicians learning how to think deeply of simple concepts in mathematics.”

Ellen Li
Student 2015 

“PROMYS has been an amazing mathematical experience, and I think it will catalyze my intellectual development. Glenn Stevens is definitely one of the most inspiring math teachers I have ever had. I really appreciate the hard work that everyone involved put into the program. Thank you all very much for all you've done this summer.”

Student in 2014

“Before I came to PROMYS I liked math and attended a couple of other math programs. Walking in, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The problem sets at times were so frustrating. But I noticed how much I grew as an individual. PROMYS showed me the beauty of mathematics along with many other branches of math. Now I feel like I love math more than ever did before. From bashing numerical examples to proving theorems with extremely clever ways, PROMYS showed me it all.  PROMYS is an experience of a lifetime.  Anyone who is involved in the world of mathematics should have the opportunity to come to PROMYS.”

Kathryn Zhao
Student 2014

"PROMYS uniquely impacted me like some sort of miracle separating where I came from in life and where I am now"

Daniel Echlin
Student 2004, 2005, 2006, Counselor 2009

“PROMYS is an amazing program where I was challenged immensely but this only helped to push me to become a better mathematician. I’ve become friends with the brightest students from across the world and had memories and experiences I will cherish forever. I cannot express my appreciation to the PROMYS program for his wonderful summer.”

Jason Lee
Student 2014

“This summer in PROMYS was a really great introduction to research in mathematics and gave to me a lot of things to think about in mathematics! The elements that I really enjoyed and I found very useful was the learning process: We never obtain any lists of proofs to learn by heart and then try to understand, but we are guided thanks to the counselors and the examples givens in the exercises to understand by ourselves “what’s going on ?” ! Generally, when we have already understood “what the problem is?” the proof became natural in our minds and we feel very happy. After that, we also really want to understand more and try to generalize what we proved: PROMYS help us to do that and it’s really cool.”

Wassim Trabelsi (France)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

"What I appreciated most as a student was the intensity of the program. I think that the main sources of this feeling were the difficulty and depth of the problems sets and the presence and motivation of the other students and counselors. Also, I found the material itself to be exciting . . . "At PROMYS, I met people who could offer advice about possible mathematical paths for the end of high school and at college. Many of the people I met are still close friends, and I learn a lot from them as they continue to do interesting things with their lives."

Joshua Greene
Student 1991 and 1992  Counselor 1996 and 1997 (Head Counselor)

“A defining three summers in my life. I wouldn't trade them for anything and would recommend the program to anyone.”

Tom Zavisca
Student 1989 and 1990  Counselor 1991

"PROMYS is a lot of discovery; it's not just reading from a book and saying 'This is what is and learn how to use it.' . . . "You're just completely immersed in math. . . One thing they could improve: they could make it [PROMYS] longer."

Eleanor Williams 
Student 1996

"PROMYS was fantastic! It introduced me to higher mathematics at a young age and taught me to think like a mathematician. I carried this with me in every job I've had since, as a Statistician, Astrophysicist, and Applied Mathematician."

Ria Persad
Student 1990  Counselor 1991. 

"PROMYS was an incredible experience; it changed the way I think."

Mitchell Harris
Student 2011 and 2012 

“Every serious aspiring scientist should enjoy a PROMYS experience.”

Alexander Chen
Student 2015

"During the summers after 11th and 12th grade I attended a summer program called PROMYS held at Boston university. The program’s ostensible subject is elementary number theory, but in truth it is a passionate case for a mathematical worldview devoid of pretension or egotism, driven instead by the search for holism, simplicity, and rigor. As such, PROMYS offers a window into mathematics as an academic discipline. In contrast to the typical outlet for young mathematicians’ enthusiasm, math contests, PROMYS focuses on collaboration and most importantly on communication; PROMYS provides a background in the proof, the preeminent tool of formal mathematical expression. The problem sets, which constantly challenge one to prove, or disprove and salvage (PODASIP for short), are crucibles within which deep understanding and over which lifelong friendships are forged. Finally, Glenn Stevens, the head lecturer and the man whose spirit endows the program with its intellectual and communal focuses, is the best teacher I’ve ever had and almost surely the funniest research mathematician in the world (his frequent in-lecture jokes are notoriously side-splitting). Glenn lectures quickly but with clarity, engages deep mathematics but always strives for simplicity, and finally his enthusiasm and passion for math are downright infectious."

Gabriel Ravel
Student 2012 and 2013
First posted on the New York Times site 

“PROMYS has been the greatest summer of my life. Nothing else can describe it aptly.”

Koert Chen
Student 2014

“Thirty years ago, this program changed my life. Among many firsts, it was my first time on an airplane. Thank you to all the folks who make this possible.” 

Wendy McKibben Spies
Student, 1990

“PROMYS was a great experience filled with math and interesting people. Doing psets all day sounds like a lot of work but the fact that you’re surrounded by friends who all love math makes it awesome.”

Kara Luo
Student 2014

“The way math is approached is different to the Olympiad-focused view I’m used to. That greatly enriches my math experiences.”

Felix Hilsky (Germany)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

“Overall, this turned out to be an amazing experience! I had the chance to learn a lot of interesting things, some of which I was able to understand on a deeper level than before, and I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity!”

Andi Gabriel Brojbeanu (Romania)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

"These were the best six weeks of my life.  I've met a lot of interesting people, do a lot of math and made a lot of friends.  And when I've thought that life just couldn't get any better than this, surprise! Best experience ever!  

Andreea Iorga (Romania)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

"PROMYS gave me the opportunity to learn to think in different ways.  There is no place I would have rather spent this summer."

Samuel Song
Student 2013

"PROMYS pushed me out of my comfort zone and exposed me to a completely different way of learning and exploring math."

Sunny Yan
Student 2013

"PROMYS definitely helped me understand what exploration and research in mathematics is like, and also taught me how to get started." 

Steven Kwon
Student 2013

"I spent four years as a counselor at PROMYS, a number theory program for high school students, and highly endorse it either as a place to go learn or to go work... I think I care more about being a good teacher and a good writer as a result of PROMYS... PROMYS made me think consciously about how to teach, and recognize that I was capable of doing it well if I worked at it.... PROMYS was extremely helpful in developing my approach to studying mathematics and teaching it. PROMYS helped me focus my understanding on examples, and, by making me review the fundamentals of number theory every year, helped me see how to understand a mathematical field as a cohesive whole rather than a series of results. In terms of teaching, PROMYS taught me patience, taught me to listen to a student's partial solution to pick out the useful ideas, and taught me the importance of knowing many approaches to any subject...

I also have run across many former students at academic conferences, or walking around the halls of MIT, and am friendly with them. I also check arXiv.org regularly, and look for names of former students. I always read their preprints, and often send them suggestions, thoughts or corrections...The PROMYS network of grad students and professional mathematicians has been very helpful to me as a source of advice as I have moved through my career."

David Speyer
Counselor 1999, 2000. 2001 (Head Counselor), and 2002 (Head Counselor)

“For the first time in my scholastic life, I felt humbled by my peers. Outstanding, sobering experience.”

Paul Witinski
Student 1993

"I am incredibly grateful for support from Professor Glenn Stevens. His PROMYS program opened my eyes to pure mathematics as a high school student, and each summer, I continue to find more reasons to spend my life studying this beautiful subject."

Ila Varma 
Student 2004, 2005  Counselor 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 (Head Counselor), and 2010 (Head Counselor)

“I still tell people that PROMYS was the defining summer of my life. It launched my interest in mathematics to new levels, and it confirmed my suspicions about the incomparable beauty of the subject.”

Francois Greer
Student 2005  Counselor 2009 and 2010

"I'll be starting grad school at the University of Chicago in fall 2012. I'm excited to continue pursuing mathematics as a career - I can't wait to get started doing research and teaching. My enthusiasm is thanks to my wonderful experiences at PROMYS"

Zev Chonoles
Student 2007 and 2008   Counselor 2011 and 2012

“PROMYS is the perfect experience for high-schoolers who would like a challenge and would also like to find out what it is like to do some "real mathematics." The combination of open-ended problem sets and of lectures that stay just a few days behind what the students are thinking about allows each student to engage the material at their own pace, and their own level of depth.”

Mimi Cukier
Counselor 2002

“Truthfully, PROMYS was one of the highlights of my life. The intense focus needed to work hard and learn at PROMYS was a terrific tool that I added to my arsenal of abilities, which got used quite frequently during my undergraduate and graduate studies. Although the focus at PROMYS was on abstract mathematics, the underlying scientific and logical structures are well formulated and usable in all the sciences.”

Wesley Terwey
Student 1993 and 1994  Counselor 1996

"While I didn't ultimately pursue a career in mathematics, the experience of the program was formative both in introducing me to higher math and in developing my analytic ability, a skill that translates well to many fields and careers. Specifically, attending the program put me ahead of the majority of my peers in college mathematically, and when I ultimately decided to pursue a research career in biological sciences, the quantitative skills I gained from the program facilitated the transition."

Andy Itsara
Student 2000  Counselor 2001 and 2002

“Not only did PROMYS serve as my first time rigorously proving theorems from axioms, but also it was a great time, above and beyond just the mandatory fun sessions.”

William Shore
Student 2003 and 2004

"PROMYS was absolutely a defining summer in countably infinite many ways!"

Sam Rosenberg
Student 2004

"The time I spent in PROMYS last summer proved to be the most influential time of my life thus far. It introduced me to a world of mathematics that I never had seen before. Everyone helped to create a welcoming atmosphere, and at the end of the six weeks, I hated to leave. The material we studied was fascinating and intriguing; math had never seemed so interesting, confusing, or beautiful to me. The afternoon lectures were also quite engaging, especially those on cryptography and knot theory. In a mere six weeks, I learned as much and became acquainted with as many people as I have in years of studying at school. Attending PROMYS was a momentous experience in my life."

Sarah Eggleston
Student 2001 and 2002

"I only remember the names of a few campers and maybe one or two counselors, and certainly don't remember much of the math. Yet PROMYS remains fundamentally important to my educational and emotional journey.... "For me, the most important aspect of PROMYS was the struggle. Despite struggling with the math, I came away with higher self esteem."

Tommy Vitolo
Student 1994

"When you do math in high school, you kind of get an idea of it as already done for you, but when you come to PROMYS, you get the idea that it's not really all cut and dried and there's new stuff always going on that you have to figure out."

Peter Frazier
Student 1995 and 1996

"I think a really big and important difference is the teachers. The lecturers and the teachers here are really, really enthusiastic about math, and they instill that in their students. It's just a great feeling when everybody's thinking math, and you're all working on it. . . . "The problem sets are very well designed. Certain problems come up, and it will sort of give you a hint of what's coming next, and you'll say, that's nice, and then you find other problems, and you'll find they're connected. The more problems you do and the more types that you do, you find that they're all connected in this really deep way, some way or another, and you can then prove much deeper things, and it gets so interesting; it's great. . . . They really give you the impression here that math is more similar to art than it is to a science."

Bryden Cais
Student 1996 and 1997  Counselor 2000 and 2002  Returned as Research Mentor and Guest Speaker

"You are working with some of the brightest minds in the nation. In high school, you don't have people of the caliber you have here. . . . "People come here at different points in their high school careers. The first time I came here was after my freshman year of high school. I was good at mathematics, on the math team, but not one of the top members of it, not really knowing what I wanted to do or knowing anything about colleges. Basically, I didn't have much direction at the time. While I was here I realized that math is really what I enjoy. Also, being in Boston, close to MIT and Harvard, it's really useful to get to tour those campuses. I'm going to MIT next year, and PROMYS probably had a lot to do with that."

Edward Early
Student 1993 and 1994  Counselor 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 Returned as Research Mentor

"My experience at PROMYS '99 was amazing. It was a humbling experience to learn with extremely bright people; PROMYS provided me with a memory of a lifetime. Even to this day, I tell people about the amazing things that are happening at PROMYS!"

Khem Veasna 
Student 1999 

"I came to the United States at the start of my sophomore year in high school in North Carolina. I then attended PROMYS in the summer of my junior and senior years. The first summer at PROMYS opened my eyes to a world of education opportunities." 

Li Yu
Student 1994  Counselor 1995, 1996, and 1997

“I was able to learn number theory and like the tracks of human thoughts in this camp. More than anything, how this camp showed me the range of math was most amazing and I wish I could have been here earlier.” 

Yurim Lee
Student 2015

“PROMYS was such a great experience to be completely immersed in math for 6 weeks. I learned so much, and saw what it was like to really sit down and think deeply about things that seemed so simple before. Thank you so much and hope to see you next year!” 

Jena Yun
Student 2015 

“Should do PROMYS! Great way to enjoy summer!” 

Yunkai Zhang
Student 2015

“I think it was a really great program that got me to think about math in interesting new ways, as well as to understand some basic facts about math that we take to be intuitively obvious. I had a lot of fun exploring math that isn't traditionally taught in high school and seeing the simple yet beautiful patterns that arise.” 

Philip Lamkin
Student 2015

“This program was very fun and it was the best learning experience I have ever had. The opportunity to explore and truly understand a subject is not often available everywhere, and It was a very enjoyable experience learning number theory and discovering it on our own.” 

Akhilesh Yeleswarapu
Student 2015

It's really cool and challenging. I loved it.”

Candace Chiang
Student 2015

“It’s challenging but rewarding: You learn they "hows" and "whys" over the plug and chug that you do in high school math.”

Tejas Kelkar
Student 2015

"PROMYS was like losing my intellectual virginity. I was 15. It was amazing." 

Roona Ray
Student 1995

"Not only was it an awesome experience but it has given me opportunities that have played a significant role in shaping my life."

Alex Shtut
Student 1996 and 1997

"PROMYS helped forge an important link of my self definition, at just the right time in my life."

Michael (Adam) Jablecki
Student 1997 

“I would definitely recommend PROMYS to other mathematically ambitious students in my country, because PROMYS was one of my best summers ever and I would recommend the way of learning math which is used at PROMYS to every student.”

Tim Bloedtner (Germany)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

“It’s much more fulfilling to learn by making conjectures and working on their proofs than any other way. It also gives you more understanding of the results you established and how to use them. 

I think 6 weeks is about the right length for PROMYS. On the one hand I would love to stay much longer and feel like the time passed by very quickly. On the other hand PROMYS is a really intense program and much more than six weeks would probably be too much.This summer was definitely one of the best summers in my life.”

Liam Hughes (UK)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

“I discovered whole new branches of mathematics which motivated me to continue with studying maths. Instead of the abrupt way of reading maths online or in books, PROMYS lets you try to come up with these things by yourself. Learning yourself the technique of conjecturing and proof PROMYS gives you this unique different approach of really struggling of problems and doing wonderful discoveries by yourself. This program totally changed my point of view.”

Art Waeterschoot (Belgium)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

“The program really helped me learn how to approach new problems, and helped me develop my teamwork skills. I really liked how the lectures were around 3 days behind the psets – I really enjoyed discovering things by myself.”

Tomoka Kan
Student 2014

 “I have greatly benefited from PROMYS in many ways. Besides learning a lot of interesting math I was able to improve my English and made friends with lots of new people….Counselors as well as second years and other first years were very helpful with math (in their own ways) and all the people are very welcoming and open-minded.”

Anna Köhne (Germany)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

“I found the PROMYS community to be extremely welcoming and supportive. In fact, I believe this community to be a large reason for the continued success of the program. I hope to stay in touch with people from PROMYS as PROMYS has brought me into contact with a great community full of interesting people with similar interests to myself.

PROMYS taught me that mathematics is not just an individual pursuit where one is in competition with everyone else and also indicate to me that one learns mathematics by doing it and not just by reading about it.

The CMI-PROMYS International Alliance is an amazing opportunity to not only learn about interesting mathematics, but also to interact with a community full of great, friendly people that are passionate about mathematics. The mathematics is intriguing and complemented by the community that supports you throughout your journey. Often one may find that you can learn an extraordinary amount from one’s peers who are travelling the same journey.”

Bohan Yu (UK)
CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013 and Returning Student 2014

“I feel like I benefited, mathematically, in particular in rigorous proof writing, ordering the thoughts to get an overview and making conjectures (after finding evidence through numerical examples).I learnt a lot from the other people, which was definitely the most worthwhile element of the program (different than I am used to from competition math, at PROMYS everybody helps everybody out).The PROMYS community is very supportive and welcoming. I will definitely stay in touch with the amazing friends I made.

Thanks to being six weeks, PROMYS allows one to only focus on math, in particular just one topic, and lets one experiment a lot more on your own, which I found a very rewarding experience. At PROMYS lecture is more like a review instead of introducing the new material, which I found great, because you get to discover the thing on your own, and you don´t miss any since you go to lecture.

It was great! Not only because the problem sets are really well designed and give you a guidance you would otherwise not have, but also because you meet a lot of interesting people, make incredibly good friends and have an amazing time while learning a lot. If you like math PROMYS is the way to go!”

Marc Isern Hacker (Spain)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2014

“Even though it was really tough and we had to work a lot, it was about something I like, so I enjoyed it as any other camp. It was really really good stuff!”

Ruizhe Yu Xia
Student 2014

“’We started from the bottom now we’re here’ Drake (Started from the Bottom)”

Albert Wang
Student 2014

“You probably love math if you participate in PROMYS. Now you must try new things especially the ones that don’t work or embarrass you, like a madman. Try to embrace not only others’ mistakes, but also yours.”

Hyun Jong Kim
Student 2011, 2012, 2014

"PROMYS was an excellent program for gathering young intellectuals and introducing the rigor of number theory which can be applied to any mathematical or non-mathematical field requiring thoroughness and attention to detail."

Yuen-Jong Liu
Student 1997

“I still come back to Professor Stevens telling us all "to think deeply of simple things."

Michael Jan
Student 1999 and 2000

“PROMYS opened my eyes to a world of mathematics in which passion was not the direct consequence of ease.”

Charlotte Chan
Student 2006; Counselor 2010, 2011 (Head Counselor), and 2012 (Head Counselor)

“PROMYS was my first long term away from home camp and it was probably one of the funnest experience ever :) “

Lisa Leung
Student 2000

"Being around a group of people who are all working towards a common goal (learning math) is inspiring, year after year. The experiences at PROMYS really lead you to appreciate the beauty in math."

Maggie Yuan
Student 2012 and 2013

"CMI-PROMYS was a defining experience for me and gave me enormous insights both mathematically and emotionally."

Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

“PROMYS was a very enlightening experience for me. It was my first experience with the axiomatic paradigm of mathematics, but that was not the important part. The most important part was learning how to solve problems.”

Dan Huang
Student 2007

"As an attorney, my career did not develop into the scientific one I expected while a student at PROMYS. Nevertheless, I am indebted to PROMYS for having provided me the confidence to explore unexpected avenues and to take on challenges beyond my usual comfort zone. PROMYS was a wonderful experience and very beneficial for my personal growth."

Christian Counts
Student 1989

“Prof. Stevens was great. He presented challenging number theory material in an interesting and thought-provoking way. I still remember several of the proofs and concepts almost 20 years later!”

Amit Srivastava
Student 1990

“Quite possibly the best two summers of my life.”

Donald Bruckner
Counselor 1991 and 1992

“I spent 5 summers at PROMYS, 2 as a student, 1 as a junior counselor, and 2 as a counselor. The experience really helped shape me as a person. I loved being surrounded and challenged by smart people every day of the program! I've never exercised my brain so much! The program really fed my need to relentlessly pursue solutions to complicated problems (thus my interest in health care reform). I made so many great friends at the program and wish I kept in touch with more people. I'm thrilled that the program is still going strong!”

Julia Kraemer Lerche
Student 1992 and 1993  Counselor 1994, 1995, and 1997

"PROMYS was the most fun I’ve ever had!"

Yevgeniy Antipov
Student 2013

"Even if you think you know elementary number theory well, you will learn a lot at PROMYS."

Michael Seaman
Student 2013

“Having grown up in a small rural town in Missouri, PROMYS was my first exposure to a true academic community. My experiences at PROMYS sharpened my problem thinking skills and gave me the self-confidence to pursue an ambitious educational path (e.g. applying to colleges I would have never considered). I will always look back on my days at PROMYS fondly!”

Carrie Snyder Woods
Student 1993 and 1994  Counselor 1996 

"PROMYS is a great experience, and I have met many great people, and I have learned so much this summer."

Stephanie Ren
Student 2013

"PROMYS taught me so much in so little time and I wish the program could continue."

Phillip Yoon
Student 2013

"PROMYS is the best place!" 

Uma Roy
Student 2012 and 2013

"I still have many fond memories of the summer, especially all of the other students I met. It was wonderful! " 

Karon Von Antwerp
Student 1989

“I love PROMYS!!”

Anna Majeed
Student 1999 and 2000. Counselor 2001, 2002. 2003, 2004, and 2005. Head Counselor multiple years.

“I had a great time at PROMYS in 1992. It was a humbling experience to be surrounded by such bright mathematical minds, and it gave me my first glimpse into what it would be like to be a math major. I'll always remember that summer fondly.” 

Nicholas Davidenko
Student 1992

"If you love math, come to PROMYS!"

Vivek Shankar
Student 2013

“Best thing I did in high school”

Gabriella Ehrlich
Student 2007 and 2008

"It’s not all math.  The social aspect is great too."

Henry Swanson
Student 2012 and 2013

"PROMYS is awesome!!!!!!!!:-) "

Suna Kim
Student 2013

"The classes are incredibly intense and require a good deal of rigor, but you learn a lot from the program, even if you already have a background in number theory." 

Nicholas Wu
Student 2013

"It was one of the best experiences of my life."

Brian Zhao
Student 2013

"It was really great and I think I have learned as much in 6 weeks as I have in a year at school."

Andreas Ravichandran 
Student 2013

"It is the smartest and most helpful program I’ve ever been to; and probably the best I will ever go to."

Glenn Zhang
Student 2013

"Great camp!  I learned a lot of cool things and really developed my mathematical ability."

Austin Wang
Student 2013

"PROMYS is a program for those who truly love mathematics and appreciate its beauty and helps its love and appreciation grow."

Chris Zhang
Student 2013

"I think one thing to mention is that the experience is as great as it is not just because of math but because of the PEOPLE (students, counselors) who are as into math as you are." 

Yael Goldstein
Student 2012 and 2013

"I just can say is the most incredible experience I have had.  So incredible that I wish there was a second years scholarship so I could have the opportunity to come again." 

Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

"The beauty of math is how to turn the simplicity into a complicated and more thoughtful problem."

Zi Zhou
Student 2017

"It would be good if there were scholarships for second year students because this summer was the best summer I’ve ever had and I certainly want to come back again."

Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

"It's an incredible experience and those who love math should try to participate."  

Spyros Koutroulis (Greece)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

"The goal of the program, I think, was to stimulate the minds of young people and expose them to the beauty of mathematics had they never encountered it before, and if they had, to develop their passion for it. I think the program accomplished this very well."

Vijay Srinivasan
Student 2015

"PROMYS is awesome.  Apply!"

Koen Doodeman (Netherlands)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

"I recommend people who like math to participate in it … PROMYS has been one of the best experience I had. … I just can say it's been an incredible experience. 

Marc Tricas Perramon (Spain)
Student and CMI-PROMYS Scholar 2013

"PROMYS is a great experience that really changed my view on math." 

Gina Han
Student 2013


Faculty and Colleagues

"PROMYS has done very impressive work over many years in creating an environment in Boston in which young mathematicians from all over the United States can immerse themselves in serious mathematical problems over several weeks, without distraction. It is an exciting development that PROMYS and the Clay Institute have now opened up the same opportunity in Europe."

Sir Andrew Wiles
Royal Society Research Professor, University of Oxford   

"Classroom teacher participation is a particularly important component of PROMYS . . . Teachers acquire personal growth as they see how secondary students can be intellectually challenged to expand their mathematical horizons. They can derive much from observing how students act in an environment that nurtures the spirit of exploration and discovery. They can transfer and modify what they experience—both the content and the pedagogy—so that all students they reach in their respective schools can be beneficiaries of this exemplary program."

Professor Margaret J. Kenney
Boston College Mathematics Educator

"Considering the widespread disenchantment with mathematics and science that we witness in American schools today, PROMYS provides a model of how to bring the life and excitement of the subject to significant numbers of motivated students and teachers. . . . In summary, I believe strongly in the value of programs such as this."

Professor Hyman Bass
Columbia University Chair, AMS Committee on Education Chair, Mathematical Sciences Education Board at the National Resource Council

" From my own experience as a student, I know that enrichment programs for gifted high school students can have a major impact on the future careers of the participants. . . . The PROMYS program has been run successfully for about a decade at Boston University, exciting students and teachers with the experience of mathematical exploration. PROMYS graduates have then entered a variety of fields. This is a program worth supporting and continuing, and I'm happy to endorse it."

Professor Nancy Koppel
Boston University MacArthur Fellowship recipient Member, National Academy of Sciences

"In an era when agencies are seeking to promote and fund first-rate innovative programs of scientific and mathematical education, I would hope that the BU program PROMYS would be given the highest priority. . . . The mathematics is truly interesting, and the sessions, with their give-and-take, seem to be perfect training for budding scientists and mathematicians. In a word, PROMYS is a summer's worth of practice of 'doing mathematics' on quite a high level for high school students."

Professor Barry Mazur
William Petschek Professor of Mathematics Harvard University Member, National Academy of Sciences

"PROMYS is a wonderful way to reach out to talented high school students and their teachers. I view PROMYS . . . as vital."

Professor Ken Ribet
University of California, Berkeley Instrumental in solving Fermat's Last Theorem


Alum Reviews of PROMYS

"I really enjoyed PROMYS, but the kind of fun you get at PROMYS is based on really hard work and interaction with others who like the same thing, as you will see below.

I first went to PROMYS after my freshman year of high school. I chose to go to PROMYS because I wanted do math that was out of the regular high school curriculum. I particularly wanted exposure to math research. PROMYS combined an intense study of number theory and as well as an introduction to math research. This camp is similar to ROSS which I also thought about, but ROSS was further away. I did not have any interest in the camps that emphasized math competition preparation.

PROMYS 2011 was an intense, but satisfying 6 weeks of math. There were students from all 4 years of high school, but most were rising Juniors or Seniors so I was one of the few coming after freshman year. In the morning at 9:00 AM, we would head down to Glenn Stevens' number theory lecture and receive our daily number theory problem sets, which we would work on for the rest of the day. It was hard core; the problem sets tested your ability to think rather than any factual knowledge. Instead of having stuff taught to you, you figured out the number theory on your own. The counselors helped us by strengthening the rigor of our proofs while withholding the actual proof itself, letting the problem sets guide us to prove from scratch what we "knew" (and theorems we didn't know) about the system of integers. We were tested in a midterm and final exam in sections of rigor, proofs, numericals, and "miscellaneous."

In addition to the number theory, we had the option (which most of us took) of conducting a research project, choosing from a list of topics of interest. With some general questions to build on, we explored in groups of three to four and presented our findings at the end of PROMYS in a presentation and paper. The topics remain the same from year to year, but the experience of researching, making a paper, and presenting was invaluable.

Every week, we would have a taste of new and exciting math related topics in guest lectures from distinguished mathematicians from around the country. Every Friday, we would be forced to take a break and participate in Mandatory Fun, which ranged from poker night, to a dance, to an intriguing "movie" night. On the weekends, you can play sports and take trips around Boston. For the math-hungry, never fear: there is an extra long week-end problem set.

More about the activities outside of math: We played chess, ultimate frisbee, basketball, went swimming and took short trips throughout Boston (memorable excursions include Harry Potter opening at the movie theater summer 2011, fireworks July 4 at the Esplanade summer 2012). Usually a counselor or a group of kids decided they wanted to go to an event and organized it themselves. Still, most of the weekdays and weekends involved a lot of work on problem sets. This is where the time management comes in.  You need to manage your schedule outside lectures yourself. It sounds like boot camp to say that we worked really intensely each day on problem sets. However, it was also a terrific feeling to be challenged to stretch your mind and the ultimate bonding experience with your peers to be struggling together.

I went for a second time to PROMYS after my sophomore year of high school. As a second year student, you have the opportunity to choose in-depth seminars. These seminar offerings vary each year. You can choose more than one topic, but they each have their own challenging problem sets. There are no midterm or final exams for these second year topics; instead, you take the number theory midterm and final for the second time. If you got a really high score the previous time you took the tests, you can take a shorter, but harder test. If you come back for a third year and you scored well on the short test, you can take an even shorter test with impossible questions that have never been solved before (or at least within the time limit).

Second years also have the option of conducting research projects, but the topics you choose from are new and unsolved problems posed yearly by professors with an interest in them. The process is much the same: in groups of three to four, you research, collect your findings, make a paper, and present at the end of PROMYS, but finding something new is incredibly exciting. This was my favorite part of last summer's camp.

I would highly recommend PROMYS to former alumni from MathPath. Both types of camps explore math outside of the school curriculum, require that you enjoy doing math around the clock, and are opportunities to meet other people with the same interests. However, MathPathers need to adjust to a different style of learning at PROMYS. MathPathers have elective classes with varying topics. PROMYS is all about number theory the first year. There is a lot of unstructured time at PROMYS. PROMYS is a lot like college where you seek out your counselors and work on your problem sets. Lectures are review because a lot of the learning is self driven.

MathPath was the place where I first learned about writing rigorous proofs and number theory. The exposure to proofs was especially helpful for PROMYS. After MathPath, I had the confidence to go to PROMYS. I think if you have never gone to a camp like MathPath, the PROMYS description of what you will do can be intimidating.

I think attending different camps with different styles is a good idea in terms of overall exposure for students who are uncertain what they might like. There is a danger in attending one camp and judging all math camps by the one. I was just fortunate to attend a camp that was a good fit for me from the start. I really liked number theory and I enjoyed the independence of unstructured time to think. I also connected with a lot of brilliant kids who I hung out with from the start. Late nights working on problem sets and eating ramen noodles while chatting with people who really like math was my kind of fun. Several of my friends came back the second year as I did."

Nic Trieu
Student 2011 and 2012
Posted on MathPath site

"PROMYS is short for Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists. It is a 6-week program in mathematics that takes place in BU during the summer. All first-year students take a course in number theory. There is a lecture every weekday from 9:00 to 10:30 am, and after lecture every day we get a problem set for us to solve for that day. It is really not like homework assignments for math class. The problem sets contain problems that are so much more thought-provoking. Even spending all day long with one problem set is not enough to solve the problem set.

But anyway, the lectures are given by Prof. Glenn Stevens, a professor in mathematics in BU. Students also get to participate, though this is optional, in a research lab. They will research and investigate certain topics like:

  • counting rational numbers
  • linear diophantine equations
  • fibonacci numbers
  • pythagorean triples and sums of squares

and they will present a presentation and a formally written paper at the end of the program.

To me the program was very rewarding. If I had a chance to go back as a second-year student, I definitely would. (There is also a separate program for second-year students where they get to take courses in more advanced mathematics, such as geometry/symmetry and abstract algebra.) I loved being able to talk about math with students from all over the country. After lecture we would sit down at a table and spend all day solving problems together. It was like we were discovering new things."

Joshua Kim, Student 2012
Posted on the Phillips Andover site - under Testimonials 2012

"PROMYS is a great program. The ideals of the program are given by 'To think deeply of simple things' - Arnold E. Ross. I quickly learned that simple does not equal easy and to question any result that I accept as true. The core class was number theory, where we began by seeking rigorous proofs for basic results using only the axioms for the integers. Through this process we realized how naturally these results generalized to other things. Eventually we were able to prove beautiful results such as the law of quadratic reciprocity. In addition, I took abstract algebra and exploration lab. Due to the rigor and exploration involved, by the end of the program I felt a deeper understanding of mathematics, as opposed to the mystery of plugging numbers into formulas without knowing why they work. PROMYS was an invaluable benefit to my mindset. Thanks Mu Alpha Theta for the [grant]!" 

Lawrence Wu
Student 2012
Posted on Mu Alpha Theta site 

"PROMYS is a fabulous program. A Number theory class is the core class that students must attend everyday. In the class, Professor Glenn Stevens taught us to think differently from what we have been taught from high school. The class opened our views in the field of mathematics. In addition to the core classe, there were non-mandatory classes (such as Modulo Forms, Geometry and Symmetry, Exploration Labs, Research Labs, Abstract Algebra) provided to help us to expand our knowledge. I chose Geometry and Symmetry. In that class, Professor Rosenberg introduced various forms and numerous ideas of Geometry to us. The ideas I learned through the program, may apply to areas other than mathematics. I enjoyed the program throughout the whole six weeks."

Yuehan Huang
Student 2007
Posted on Mu Alpha Theta site

"PROMYS (Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists) is a six week summer program at Boston University for high school students. It began as an offshoot of the number theory program at OSU and its aim is to introduce talented high school students to higher mathematics through an intensive number theory course.

Each year, Professor Glenn Stevens, the program director, hires approximately fifteen students as counselors. The counselors' main responsibility is to grade the students' daily problem sets, but counselors are also expected to monitor their students' progress, to be available to answer their questions, and to set an example for the students by conspicuously working on their own math throughout the summer. Counselors live in the B.U. dorms with their students and are expected to be on hand to organize social activities for the students on weekends.

Being a counselor at PROMYS is a wonderful way to learn math while working closely with talented and motivated students. Many of the more advanced number theory problems are interesting and challenging, even for counselors. In addition to Professor Stevens's basic number theory course, there are classes on more advanced topics for second- and third-year students, which counselors are encouraged to attend. Last summer, for example, there were courses on elementary group theory, algebraic number theory, and dynamical systems. There is a lot of work, but there is also plenty of time to socialize and to form friendships with students and with other counselors. I had a great time working at PROMYS last summer. I found it very rewarding, both mathematically and socially."

Leslie Mayer
Student 1991  Counselor 1992
Posted on Harvard Math Department's REU review page

"Last summer I worked as a counselor at PROMYS (Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists). PROMYS is a six-week program run by Boston University, and is funded by the NSF. The director of the program, Glenn Stevens, is a mathematics professor at BU. Last summer there were eighty students, mostly from high school, who had strong interests in math.  

The purpose of PROMYS is to develop the students' interest in math. Each morning the students attend an hour lecture in number theory where they are given the day's problem set: numerical calculations, statements that they are asked to "prove or disprove and salvage if possible" and some tricky problems labelled "miscellaneous." Students look for patterns and make conjectures ("any conjectures?" is perhaps the most frequently asked question in the program.) The students never receive scores on the problem sets. They are instructed to finish as much as they can, and receive comments. Finishing the problem sets becomes steadily more difficult as the program progresses, and few students come close to finishing the problem sets in the second half of the program. The lack of grades enables the program to keep competition to a minimum. Students constantly work together and discuss the problems.

This brings us to the role of counselors. PROMYS hires 20 college students, some of whom were themselves students, to guide students through the program. Like the other counselors, I was assigned five students whom I was primarily responsible for (numbers varied slightly from counselor to counselor.) I commented on their problem sets, and discussed their work with them. We talked about the course and tried to resolve some difficulties. Besides his or her five students, the counselor is responsible for all of the students in the program. In the evenings, many students and counselors work together in a room called the "basement". Students work with students, students work with counselors, counselors work with counselors.

The students at PROMYS are very smart and motivated; working with them was one of the best parts of PROMYS. Working with the other counselors was also a great experience. The program at PROMYS can be taken at all different levels; it is hard to imagine anyone being bored by it! The number theory problem sets are extremely interesting, both in the problems themselves, and in the way that they are organized to lead up to important results. There are several more advanced courses that are taken by the returning students in addition to the number theory (all students take the number theory course, there is easily enough material there for several summers).

As a counselor, there is much opportunity to learn a lot of math. Besides the number theory problem sets, the more advanced courses are of interest to counselors. There are also seminars that counselors put on for themselves. Last summer's Modular Forms seminar developed a particularly cultish following.

Contrary to what it may seem from this description, we didn't do math all the time. The flexible nature of this program allows for much socializing. Counselors organized social events that range from somewhat normal to bizarre, but were always fun. Trips to surrounding colleges are also organized by counselors (if you've ever wanted to give a tour of Harvard, now might be the time to do it), as are games of ultimate, trips to Boston, etc. You won't get much sleep, but you will have an exciting and fun summer."

Jessica Wachter 
Counselor in 1993
Posted on Harvard Math Department's REU review page

"The past few summers, she has been involved with PROMYS a challenging program designed to encourage ambitious high school students to explore the creative world of mathematics. The program is based at Boston University. Each summer, approximately 60 high school students from around the country gather on the campus of Boston University for six weeks of rigorous mathematical activity. Through their intensive efforts to solve an assortment of unusually challenging problems in Number Theory, participants will practice the art of mathematical discovery.

This past summer, Blair Dowling was a counselor for the program. The duties she writes, were to grade the daily homework in Number Theory for three or four students. More importantly, counselors will be available to help students through informal discussions as questions arise. We rely on counselors to create an intense atmosphere of interaction crossing many levels of mathematical experience. Consistent with this goal, counselors and participants will be housed together on campus. In addition, the PROMYS counselor staff is invited to organize "mini-courses" on themes of their own choosing in order to introduce students to a broad variety of mathematical ideas. During the program, counselors are invited to study mathematics independently by participating in seminars and interacting individually with the faculty.

I was one of two head counselors for the program. As such, my duties included all those of a regular counselor, plus various administrative responsibilities - running counselor meetings, arranging for various scheduled activities to take place, dealing with any problems between the program and the university (residence halls), and basically making sure that things were running smoothly, taking care of any issues as they arose. Additionally, I ran a "mini-course" of four lectures on the subject of Cryptography, introducing students to secret and public-key systems, RSA, El-Gamal, zero- knowledge proofs, and secret-sharing, with special emphasis on the number theory behind some of these systems. To further my own mathematical education, I participated in a counselor seminar on Modular Forms, which met two or three times a week.

I feel that the program offers a unique experience of true immersion in rigorous mathematics and an excellent introduction to the logic and thought process which is so essential in higher math. My experiences with the program were positive, and I enjoyed working with exceptionally bright students, and learned a lot (both about math, and about working with students) in the process." 

Blair Dowling
Student in 1998. Counselor in 1999 and 2001 (Head Counselor)
Posted on Georgia Tech Undergraduate Math Department site. Blair was the President of the Undergraduate Math Club.

"The Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists is an intensive six-week summer camp for aspiring mathematicians in high school. The program emphasizes mathematical discovery through an immersive environment centered on learning elementary number theory. Approximately 60 high school students are guided on the path of discovery by 15 counselors (college students usually majoring in math) and a team of top-notch professors in the mathematics department at Boston University. Daily lectures are delivered by the program founder, Glenn Stevens, whose energy and enthusiasm for mathematics is contagious.

I attended PROMYS as a student in the summers of 1996 and 1997, and returned as a counselor in the summers of 2000 and 2002. I credit PROMYS with opening my eyes to the possibility of becoming a professional mathematician, and for introducing me to the beauty of number theory. PROMYS has also had a significant impact on my views toward teaching mathematics, and I hope to continue my involvement with mathematics education at the high school level."

Bryden Cais
Student in 1996 and 1997  Counselor in 2000 and 2002
Posted on alum's Teaching and Advising page at the University of Arizona 

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