Winter Program

What is it?

Athemath Winter Program will be an in-person, intensive 2-week program that provides math competition training to mathematically gifted middle and high school students of a minority gender. Outside of math, the program also features a variety of non-math activities, from field trips to evening games to holiday parties. Think of it as a summer program, just in the winter.

We aim to foster a community that will help women and non-binary people thrive in the long run, in both math contests and the rest of the math world. Through the program, students can explore interesting problems from the AMC, AIME, and early Olympiad levels, but also become part of community of other women and non-binary folk who really love math. And virtually of our winter program staff are Mathematical Olympiad Program (MOP) alumni and women and nonbinary folk, so students will be surrounded by mentors and potential role-models who have gone through the same struggles as they have.

This year’s program will be held from Saturday, December 18 to Friday, December 31, 2021 at Irving House at Harvard in Cambridge, MA. The total cost for residential students is $2200 and total cost for day-students (who will need to provide their own transportation to the program) is $1700. Our application process is need-blind and students may apply for need-based financial aid upon acceptance into the program. Since the pandemic is very much still ongoing, we have established COVID policies that you can read more about in our COVID-19 FAQ section.

Sounds interesting? Apply here by October 13th, 11:59 pm PT, or join the Discord for prospective applicants here.

Academic

The program will feature a total 45 hours of instruction over two weeks, which averages out to about 5 hours per academic day. These 45 hours are split into 18 hours of teaching and 27 hours of hands-on problem solving, as we believe that solving lots of problems is the most important method of learning mathematics. We also have special guest lectures scattered throughout the program, including one from Evan Chen.

All program participants will engage in one course, which will feature topics in Number Theory, Combinatorics, and Geometry. The course will be taught by our three instructors: Sanjana Das, Pravi Putalapattu, and Andrew Wu. Sanjana will cover modular arithmetic, the Euclidean Algorithm, divisibility, number-theoretic functions, and orders. Pravi will cover constructive, complementary, and casework counting, PIE, recursion, bijections, graph theory, and various other smaller topics. Andrew will cover angle-chasing, Power of a Point, triangle centers and their interplay, and some trigonometry. Staff biographies can be found here.

Travel and Safety

The program will be hosted at Irving House at Harvard, which is located in Cambridge, MA. Students attending the program will need to find transportation to the area, either arriving directly at the hotel (e.g. day students who drive or walk) or flying in. In particular, students who will be flying will need to fly into Boston Logan Airport (BOS), where staff members will pick them up and escort them to the hotel. Students will figure out and communicate travel plans with program staff in the months leading up to the program.

Our program will have a staff to student ratio of at least 1:3, with staff members living with the students in Irving House in separate rooms. Here are a few policies we will follow to keep participants safe:

  1. In case of a medical problem or other emergency, prompt medical attention will be administered as required and the student’s parents or guardians will be notified as soon as possible.
  2. Access to the Athemath Winter classrooms and events will be limited to Athemath students and staff, and authorized visitors.
  3. Students are required to attend all classes, during which times they will be under direct supervision by Athemath staff.
  4. Students may not leave Irving House at Harvard unless accompanied by or given explicit permission to do so by Athemath staff.
  5. Students must remain in their hotel rooms from 11 PM to 7 AM unless accompanied by an Athemath staff member.

With respect to COVID-19, we will have students test prior to arriving to the program. More details can be found in the Lightning FAQ section.

Lightning FAQ

Q: When is the Athemath Winter Program?

Saturday, December 18 to Friday, December 31, which consists of two full weekends and two full weeks.

Q: Where will the program be held this year?

The city of Cambridge, MA. Students and staff will all stay at the Irving House at Harvard hotel.

Q: Who runs the program?

Virtually all of our staff and teachers are Mathematical Olympiad Program (MOP) alumni. This means that we’ve been through all the levels of contest math experience, including the challenges that gender minorities face at each one. Our program staff list includes Andrew Wu and Janabel Xia as co-directors, Evan Chen as a residential staff member, and Sanjana Das and Pravi Putalapattu as instructors. All staff biographies can be found on the staff page.

Q: How do I apply?

The application form can be found here. The application consists of your basic demographic information, any contest scores you wish to report, a few short essay questions, and a qualifying exam. The application deadline for the 2021 program cycle is October 13th, 11:59 pm PT.

Q: Who is eligible to apply?

You must be between 13 and 17 years of age inclusive by December 18, 2021 to apply. We welcome applications from current middle school and high school students. Experience-wise, we are looking to accept students in the mid-AMC through mid-AIME level range.

Q: How many students are admitted to the program?

We will admit about 12 students for the 2021 program cycle.

Q: How much does the program cost?

The program costs $2200 for students staying overnight at the hotel, and $1700 for day-students. However, students may apply for need-based financial aid if they are unable to afford any portion of the cost of the program.

COVID-19 FAQ

Q: What is Athemath’s policy around vaccination status?

To attend the in-person Winter Program, all students must be fully vaccinated, without exception. Students will provide proof of vaccination during program registration. At Athemath, we care about the health and safety of both our students and staff as well as the general public. The last thing we want to happen is to have someone get COVID-19 and have to quarantine students and/or have to send students home early.

Q: So what happens if a student gets COVID during the program?

Once a student believes they may have COVID (e.g. from symptoms), we will immediately have that student and all other program participants test with an at-home rapid antigen COVID test, and work with the hotel to quarantine them in a separate single room with an unshared bathroom. We will also quarantine all other students and staff in their hotel rooms until the test result is available. If the test comes back negative, we will resume the program normally (but we will allow any students who wish to continue quarantining to do so). If the test comes back positive, we will first and foremost contact the student’s guardian on planning the student’s remaining stay - whether they would like to go home (if and only if they can have their parents drive up), how long they will be quarantined at the hotel, and arranging new flights. We will also continue to quarantine and test all students and staff.

However, we expect the likelihood of getting COVID to be low, as all participants will be fully vaccinated.

Q: Will students need to get tested before coming to the program?

Students will be required to test prior to flying into Boston Logan (BOS) within 72 hours of their flight, and email their result to program staff as soon as possible. Students who are driving to the program are also required to test and email the result prior to arriving at the hotel. If possible, we ask that students time their test so that their result is available prior to arrival at the program.

Q: Will students have access to COVID testing throughout the program?

We will be testing students following a Monday and Thursday schedule throughout the program. Both Walgreens and CVS MinuteClinics provide COVID testing free of charge with health insurance (which is required of students to attend the program). There are two Walgreens with curbside and in-store PCR testing no more than a 12 minute walk from the hotel. There are also two CVS clinics with quick walk-in testing no more than 15-18 minutes from the hotel, and a CVS clinic with drive-thru testing no more than 13 minutes from the hotel. There are also other various public COVID testing centers around the city of Cambridge. Students who wish to get COVID tested outside of our testing schedule will be escorted by staff.

Q: Is it safe to send my child to the Athemath Winter Program?

Athemath will be taking the various precautions to reduce the risk of COVID transmission for program participants in addition to the regular testing schedule. All students and staff will be required to wear a mask over their nose and mouth at all times, unless they are i) in their rooms, ii) actively eating, or iii) outdoors in a non-crowded area. We will hold meals in large spaces for students to eat socially distanced from each other. In addition, the hotel takes various measures to reduce the risk of COVID, which are further outlined below.

Q: What are the hotel’s policies around COVID?

The hotel at which the program is run, Irving House at Harvard, has installed ionizers in all four of the air handlers (one on each floor) that supply cooled air throughout the house. These are run twice daily throughout the winter months, and potentially more frequently depending on the state of the pandemic at the time of the program. The hotel also opens windows to freshen the air in guest rooms, which is the first thing housekeepers do when they start a cleaning process.