About Our Alumni

About Our Alumni

“I certainly don't remember much of the math. Yet PROMYS remains fundamentally important to my educational and emotional journey.” Tommy Vitolo, Student 1994, State Representative for Brookline, Massachusetts

Women of PROMYS lunch at 30th Anniversary in 2019

For over three decades, PROMYS has created a close-knit mathematical community. Each summer, long-lasting friendships and mentorships are formed at PROMYS. At the end of the six weeks, participants then join the global alum community which is active, supportive, and multi-generational. Alumni from a wide range of interests and occupations speak of the bond they feel with fellow alumni who share the rigorous habits of mind acquired at PROMYS.

PROMYS welcomes alumni when they visit the program or attend reunions and guest lectures. It is our great pleasure to stay in touch with alumni, to hear their news, and to celebrate their achievements. In addition, there are many online alum groups and local gatherings.

How large is the PROMYS alum community?
  • 1,894 students and counselors from around the world have attended PROMYS between 1989 and 2021.
  • 572 teachers and teacher counselors have attended PROMYS for Teachers between 1991 and 2021.
  • 140 students and counselors have attended PROMYS Europe between 2015 and 2021.
  • PROMYS Math Circle participants are the latest additions to the alum community.
Do alumni stay in touch with each other after the program?
  • Yes, a great many maintain long-term friendships and constitute a network of kindred spirits at institutions and companies around the world.
  • Many mentor other alumni in academia or industry.
  • Some collaborate and publish research together.
  • In addition to the reunions organized by PROMYS, alumni sometimes arrange local or regional gatherings.
  • They also stay connected online.
What do alumni study after PROMYS?
  • As undergraduates, about 60% major (or double major) in math. Many major in computer science. They also major in a wide variety of other subjects.
  • About 75% of alumni go on to attend graduate school.
  • About 50% of all alumni earn a doctorate.
  • About 25% of alumni earn a PhD in mathematics.
What do alumni go on to do after PROMYS?
  • Alumni enter a wide range of fields and professions.
  • About one third are in mathematics (including academia and industry).
  • About a third work in computer science, technology or engineering.
  • Six percent are in medicine. Approximately 8% are in other scientific fields such as physics.
  • About 14% are in finance, investment banking or consulting; 3% are in law.
  • Many have started their own businesses.
  • There is some overlap between these categories as many alumni work at the intersection of several fields and/or have multiple areas of expertise.

 

The alum community includes two patent examiners (and too many patent holders to count), an Assistant General Manager of the Yankees, a State Representative for Massachusetts, a librarian, two rabbis, a bass guitarist, an economist with the World Bank, a writer and producer of The Simpsons, artists and architects, members of the armed forces, actors, foreign service officers, experimental psychologists, data scientists, teachers, businesspeople, and many more.

How many PROMYS alumni become professors?
  • 174 alumni are professors.
  • 108 are professors of mathematics; others are professors of computer science, physics, finance, economics, chemistry, biology, meteorology, philosophy, medicine, business, public policy, management, English, sociology, law or other fields.
  • Alumni are on the faculty at a great many institutions including 7 at Harvard, 5 at Cornell, 4 at University of Chicago, 4 at University of Pennsylvania, 3 at MIT, and 3 at Columbia.
What are some alum distinctions?

Alumni have a great many awards and distinctions. Here are a few of which we are aware:

  • 9 Fellowships of the American Mathematical Society, 13 Sloan Research Fellowships, 12 NSF CAREER awards, and 40 NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowships.
  • 6 Hertz Fellowships, 21 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowships, and 152 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships.
  • 11 Putnam Fellowships, and 4 Alice Schafer Prizes (and 9 runners up and honorable mentions).
  • 22 USA Mathematical Olympiad wins, 27 International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) medals (10 gold,  14 silver, and 3 bronze), and a great many top awards in high school science research competitions such as Regeneron/Intel STS, Siemens Westinghouse and ISEF.
  • Alum honors also include a Purple Heart, President of the Harvard Law Review, World Scrabble Champion, and World Puzzle Champion. 
What do PROMYS for Teachers alumni go on to do?
  • Of the 506 teacher alumni of the past 30 years, at least 67% are still teaching.
  • Of these, 83% teach in public schools; 47% of them in high-needs public schools.
  • Approximately 50% of alum teachers have been teaching for at least a decade, with many still in the classroom after more than two decades.
  • At least 12% of PfT alum teachers are currently high school mathematics department chairs, heads of mathematics for school districts, or principals (or vice principals) of their schools.
  • 96 PfT teachers or teacher counselors have earned (or are currently working on) a doctorate. Of these, 87% are PhDs in mathematics or mathematics education.
  • 58 PfT alumni are currently professors, generally of mathematics or the teaching of mathematics. 
  • Many PfT alumni develop innovative mathematics curricula, present at mathematics education conferences, and/or publish in math education publications.
What are some PROMYS for Teachers alum distinctions?

PROMY for Teachers alumni have a great many awards and distinctions. Here are a few of which we are aware:

  • 1 induction into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 2020: Jamil Siddiqui (PfT 1999-2001) noted, "No single program or class has influenced the way I teach more than PROMYS."
  • 1 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year in 2019. 
  • 3 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
  • 2 Edyth May Sliffe Awards for Distinguished Mathematics Teaching from the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).
  • 1 Boston Public Schools Educator of the Year.
  • 1 Harvard Teaching Policy Fellowship to empower students through the Historically Black College and University Ambassador Program. This alum also received a Boston Teachers Union Professional Learning Grant for his project on the mathematics of social justice.
  • 32 Math for America (MfA) Fellowships including at least 25 Master Teacher Fellowships. MfA Fellowships are designed for teachers who are committed to teaching in high needs public schools.
  • At least 5 PfT alum NSF Graduate Research Fellowships and/or Postdoctoral Research Fellowships.
  • At least 3 Fulbright Teaching Fellowships.
What do PROMYS Europe alumni go on to do?
  • Many former PROMYS Europe students have subsequently progressed to study mathematics at university, with others taking their experiences from PROMYS Europe into other fields including biology, computer science, engineering and beyond.
  • Some of the earliest PROMYS Europe students are now studying for PhDs in various branches of mathematics as well as in other subjects, perhaps unsurprisingly these include several number theorists. Others have graduated and are developing careers in a variety of interesting roles in different industries.

Mathematically, pedagogically, socially, and financially, alumni are central to PROMYS and to its future.