Skip to Content

Alumni Stories

Video of Cedric Strickland

Cedric Strickland

Cedric promotes Residential camps

Photo of Daphne Han
Daphne Han

“I first heard about Mathworks in 2015 when my parents and I were trying to find a program or camp for me to pursue my math interest outside of school. I had no idea then that this camp would impact my life so much. I attended JSMC-Residential for 3 years and HSMC for 2 years and I will be returning as a JSMC counselor and HSMC 3rd year for the summer of 2020. I come from an area that has a lack of STEM support and interest, especially in math. It was especially difficult for me to find local opportunities to be able to dive deeper into math outside of school. The camp curriculums were pretty difficult for me as I had never come in contact with that sort of math before and I was very self-conscious about my own mathematical abilities. However, the mentors and friends I met at camp have significantly shaped me and my math journey. Meeting these incredible and brilliant people (many of whom I am still in touch with and are very close to) from all around Texas and outside of Texas inspired me to work harder and to push myself and break the limits and bounds that I previously set on myself. I realized how incredibly lucky and privileged I am to be able to attend summer programs so I recently started up a free middle school math program to increase STEM interest in my community and improve math literacy. Mathworks has give me opportunities to extend my own privilege to those in my community and to be able to directly impact those who are younger than me. Although I have not decided what career path I want to follow, I know that I want to be able to find a way I can make an impact on my community in the most direct way possible. My advice for anyone who has applied for a Mathworks camp or wants to apply is to be genuine and be yourself. In my opinion, this program focuses less on awards and achievements, but rather your passions and what you intend to do with those passions. I encourage everyone to try to solve a problem in their community, no matter how big or small-- you will be changing someone's life for the better.” - Daphne Han

Photo of Annie Zhu
Annie Zhu

“During freshman year, school quickly fell into a humdrum rhythm of textbooks and homework and exams. Despite enjoying my math class, I never felt challenged. So, in the winter of 2017, when I heard about a research competition, I was immediately intrigued. The competition required a written report and a video over the math behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. As a neophyte in mathematical research, reading and dissecting all the new info was difficult and like nothing I had done before. But I enjoyed researching elliptical curves, and I knew that this was just the first of many projects. 

Later that school year, my friend and fellow mathlete introduced me to Mathworks. Upon learning more about HSMC, I was hooked, and I yearned to be a part of the inclusive community. My friend, who had attended HSMC before, told me that the people at Honors Summer Math Camp were like her family. So, I applied! 

Attending Mathworks shaped me into becoming a better thinker. I felt as if I could always push myself and even probing at the simplest questions would get my brain churning. Not only did I improve as a student, but I also got to grow alongside many friends, people who share my passion for math. Study group will always have a special place in my heart because I was able to collaborate with other students, talking and writing on the white boards to tackle the challenging problems together. The process behind math is often a tangled mess of frustration, and sharing my ideas with others, hearing their feedback, helped me immensely. I think that every student who has insatiable curiosity and a love for learning should experience HSMC. 

The summer experience was unforgettable. Spending six-weeks with all the incredible campers made HSMC home to me. Through HSMC, I realized that I could accomplish anything that I put my mind to - and that is what I am most thankful for. The math was tough, but the people there never let each other down. The problem solving skills and the perseverance that I gained through the grueling work has helped me in all aspects of life after camp. In addition to the amazing math courses, I also had a lot of fun. I had a blast on every weekend trip, I gorged myself with delicious San Marcos food, and I was mesmerized by the fantastic colloquium speakers. Nothing can beat solving p-sets while eating hot cheetos during study group, late-night chit-chatting and playing card games in the lobby, and early morning research while jamming to music in the library. Camp culture was nurturing and welcoming; it was awesome getting to bond with such unique people who came from all over America.

If you want to attend camp, then absolutely apply! Show why you want to come to HSMC and pour your passion into your writing. And if you are accepted, then be prepared to embark on a journey that will change your life!” - Annie Zhu

Photo of Shirley Zhu
Shirley Zhu

“I heard about Mathworks through a friend from my dance school, and then again from a senior at my high school. At the time, I was an angsty teen ready to conquer the world and achieve my independence so my excitement over living on my own terms while building math skills motivated me to apply. 

It would not be an exaggeration to say that attending the Honors Summer Program has revolutionized my life. Not only has my knowledge expanded, but my mindset on studying mathematics has transformed into one that emphasizes collaboration and the art of understanding simple concepts deeply. The people I have met have also influenced my capacity to overcome obstacles, and I know I will remain close friends with the people from the camp for many years to come. 

The world is full of possibilities. My acute awareness of the immense range of studies out there has always prevented me from setting specific career goals. However, after attending Mathworks, I have been able to narrow my passion into something related to the STEM field. Mathworks does an incredible job of equipping us with an understanding of real world applications through guest speakers and research projects.

To those who want to attend the camp, I would say to always remember, what Albert Einstein once said: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” - Shirley Zhu

Photo of Hannah Guan
Hannah Guan

“Mathworks camp had a huge impact on my life. Growing up in San Antonio, where the majority population is made up of minorities, I have observed many consequences of social and income inequality. We don’t have the same access to educational resources as others. The camp taught me to turn my passion from math to a mission to help young students get educated.

Returning from the camp, I founded San Antonio Math Include (SaMi), a non-profit organization to include all students from different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences to help them achieve their success in math. I started SaMi with only six peer tutors, 68 students, and zero funding. In two years, I led SaMi to grow into 40 peer tutors and 1739 students from 117 schools. We currently offer 131 online classes. In 2019, I received the President Volunteer Service Award, Gold Medal. In 2020, my story was featured in Kids Who Make San Antonio Great by KENS5. Here is the video.

Mathworks camp has also broadened my understanding of math. Math includes both theoretic and practical parts and is widely applied in other fields, such as biology and computer science. After the camp, I started to apply math to my genetics research and participate in Science Fairs. In 2019, my research project won First Place Grand Prize in Alamo Area Regional Science Fair, Best of Category in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics in Texas Science and Engineering Fair, and Broadcom MASTERS Top 30 from 80,000 projects in science fairs in the U.S.” - Hannah Guan