BEAM's Newsletter, Pre-Summer 2018 edition: open doors for new BEAM students and BEAM seniors head off to college!
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Our biggest summer ever: 380 students will attend BEAM this year!

In the summer of 2011, seventeen students spent their summer at BEAM. This summer, 380 students will attend BEAM programs. Take a look at BEAM's growth over the last seven years:
For the first time, BEAM 6, our program for 6th graders, is large enough to accept students from all 48 of our partner schools (across New York City and Los Angeles). We created BEAM 6 two years ago to meet students earlier and provide a strong foundation for future advanced study, and it worked! Those students who participated in BEAM 6 2016 went on to BEAM 7 2017 and had an incredible summer. Malcolm Eckel, a member of the BEAM summer faculty since 2014, described working with students who had already had a summer with BEAM as "a tremendous upgrade for the program, particularly in the areas of awareness of mathematical topics, and willingness to be persistent in problem solving." He added, "It has been delightful to have students already arriving who say things like 'math is just beautiful.'  After one solution was brute-force and inelegant, a student said 'we need to try again—they won't accept it until it's beautiful.' "
Malcolm listens as Yeramis and Anthony (both BEAM 6 alumni) explain their ideas in his "Solving Big Problems" course. 
As BEAM has grown, we've worked hard to maintain a consistent level of quality. We've hired and trained great staff and worked to create procedures and systems that will keep the program strong. We're excited to have the plans and best practices in place that allow us to continue to expand the number of students we serve, while ensuring they all get quality experiences with BEAM.

As we prepare to welcome the next set of students to BEAM, we took a moment to ask our alums: what should these new students expect?  Here's what they had to say!
  • Zavier: "The advice that I would give to a student starting BEAM is: don't feel discouraged by hard problems and don't be afraid to ask for help... Practicing patience and deeper thinking is all part of the process."
  • Tanasia: "The math will be difficult; you won't get it right away. You might even struggle for the first two weeks! But you'll expand how you look at math. You'll make friendships and connections that will last for a long time. It's a new, fun experience."
  • John: "Expect to be in a loving, math community. Expect to be challenged. Expect to make amazing friends you'll keep for a century. Expect to have fun. It's not just math all the time; it's something immersive."
  • Rashik: "The most important advice I'd give is that you have to persevere and keep working even when it gets really frustrating. There's no feeling worse than being stuck on a problem forever, but there's also no feeling better than finally solving that problem."
Read More About What Our Alums Had to Say!
We can't wait to share the voices of our newest students at the end of the summer! What will they discover? What doors will be opened on their mathematical journey?
Four students face the camera and smile.
BEAM alums Rashik, Eli, Tanasia, and Andy in January 2018 at our MATHCOUNTS prep event. All four of these high school students coach math teams at our partner middle schools!

Congratulations, 12th graders!

On Thursday, May 10th, BEAM students joined 12th graders across the city for College Decision Day at the Apollo Theater! Nine BEAM 12th graders joined 200+ high school seniors from around the city, announcing their college decisions to resounding cheers from the audience of families, program staff, and supporters. 
In addition to the big, citywide celebration, BEAM hosted our own 12th grade graduation dinner on Saturday, June 9.  The event featured dinner, swag, advice from older students, and the launch of our brand new "BEAM Through College", a new initiative to guide students through the challenge of a STEM degree. Our aim is that students keep receiving the same tailored, practical advice they have come to expect from BEAM. We'll share more once the program launches this fall!
Seven members of BEAM College Prep. Back (left to right): Vielka (SUNY ESF), Will (Haverford); Front: Mona (Barnard), Ariel (Brandeis), Tanasia (Rochester), Aisha (Northwestern), and Eli (Howard).

What We're Reading (and Watching!)

New York City has a new schools chancellor and one of the big topics of conversation is high school admissions and school demographics. Here are some related stories we're keeping an eye on!

First, specialized schools. There's been a lot of talk recently in New York City about the demographics of specialized schools. The entire BEAM staff is interested but hesitant: our goal is that all students have access to a great high school education, and that math-ready students are enrolled in high schools that offer an appropriately challenging high school curriculum. As things currently stand, 39% of NYC public high schools do not offer "a standard college-prep curriculum in math and science, that is, algebra 2, chemistry and physics." And 95% of the city's students attend non-specialized high schools. We welcome realistic pathways for more Black and Latinx students into schools like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science, along with plans to address overall high school quality and options. 

What about existing programs to address specialized schools admissions preparation? New York City can learn some lessons from Hiba Hanoune's experience: why the DREAM program just wasn't enough

Emmanuel Ruiz in front of Manhattan Village AcademyAnother issue on the table is the role of geographic zoning in the context of a system that claims to offer citywide school choice. Recently, Chalkbeat NY examined the history of District 2 high schools and featured our own Emmanuel Ruiz (10th grade) who shared his reactions to the high school admissions process. The article also quotes his advisor, Lynn Cartwright-Punnett, BEAM's Director of Programs and Development. 

And now for something completely different: math! So often, the story of math is: first, mathematicians are curious and they explore something they want to explore. Then, many, many decades later, individuals may find a utility for that older math discovery. A great recent example? Hilbert's "sum of squares" questions, and the ensuing mathematical discoveries, have utility in the field of self-driving cars! We tell these stories to our BEAM students with the following moral: "Math doesn't have to be useful; mathematicians explore their curiosity, and get paid to do so! But your math discovery may still impact the world... someday."

It shouldn't take an advanced degree to understand how much college costs! This research from uAspire confirms what BEAM staff know to be true: financial aid offers as they currently stand don't do enough to demystify the cost of college. 

Earlier this year, our own Dan Zaharopol gave a talk at the Institute for Advanced Study on math for underserved students. Take a look!

BEAM is Coast to Coast!

This summer, BEAM will have 100 students at BEAM 6 LA, 200 students at BEAM 6 NYC, and 80 students at BEAM 7 in the Hudson Valley. To celebrate our bicoastal expansion, we commissioned an artist to design a bi-coastal "treasure map" for our 2018 summer t-shirt. 

Join us for a fall event, like our math-y trivia night, and you may have a chance to win your own t-shirt!
A map of the USA with NY and CA highlighted. A treasure path of math symbols connects Los Angeles and New York City. The image also includes the BEAM logo.

Can we count on your support today and next month, too?

You won't be surprised to hear that running BEAM is expensive: our summer programs cost us $2,000-$4,500 per student, but are completely free to them (and their families and schools). We sincerely believe in investing in students. Indeed, research shows that one of the big equity gaps in American education is an enrichment gap.

As we gear up for this summer, we'd like to ask for your support. The best way to contribute to BEAM is by setting up a recurring donation. Recurring donations (of any size!) allow us to plan for the future, as we know we can count on your support. 

(Read more about the equity gaps in education in articles from: Ed Excellence, The Atlantic, The New York Times)

Set Up a Recurring Donation Today
Two students work on a circuit activity while a third poses for the camera.
6th graders Milan, Karen, and Kayla during circuits club at BEAM 6 in 2017.
Copyright © 2018 Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics, All rights reserved.

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