Advanced Summer Program for students age 11-14 years
who show high promise and love mathematics



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Parent Comments!




MathPath 2016, held at Macalester College
Saint Paul MN
June 26 – July 24

Starting in 2008, we have done an online anonymous post-camp survey of parents. We asked for numerical ratings and for written answers. The numerical results are given here.

For written answers, we first asked parents if they were willing to send us separately a statement about MathPath where we could quote them by name or initials.  This year several parents did send us such a comment, and they are first below. Within the anonymous survey, we also asked how they would explain MathPath to others who ask. In most cases, parents said we could post their answer. A selection of their answers are farther below.


For two days and three nights [upon returning home] our daughter recounted all the minute details of her time at MathPath, and now my wife and I appreciate even deeper what a great transformative experience it was for our "little girl". You see, she did call us on Skype nightly, and these were very happy conversations, but this young lady was so excited to talk about topology, graph theory, shape of space or special relativity that our feeble attempts to ask: "What do you eat?" or "Do you comb you hair regularly?" were brushed off as utterly unimportant. :-) Our daughter was completely captivated by what was going on in plenaries and breakouts, she told us admiringly how Mr M in the writing plenaries was teaching the students to strive for conciseness and to fight "equals abuse", and of course she signed off with a battle cry of "Glensheep should be real". :) We were constantly getting great vibes from her about so many interesting things going on, but she really talked 90% of the time about academics, with occasional oohs and aahs about her counselor Charlotte and the great girls in their group.

Now, from her stories, notes and the Yearbook, we also see how much more was going on, and how much fun the students had all the time! Our daughter described tubing, rock climbing and Science Museum trips in great detail, wrote down all the jigsaw puzzles and wacky costumes, movies they watched together and games they played, chess simul results by board and favourite jokes of lecturers. She really tried to keep a personal journal of sorts, and it enabled us to appreciate how much camaraderie you all had among each other, how everyone became part of one broad mathematical community, how the elders led the way in showing the ropes to the young 'uns.

This is what changed our daughter so much and to the better. She was always a responsible and organized type, but my wife and I definitely felt from Skype conversations and now in person that our daughter became - how should I put it? - mobilized, that she developed a purpose in her life and a sense of urgency, that were not typical to her before. The conditions you masterfully created at MathPath, the empowerment you gave to these children, the need they felt to juggle responsibilities and to make choices - all of it really brought our daughter's maturity to yet another level. Her eyes shine with determination, and on the second day home she already tasked me with combing an online catalogue of our local library to find all the mathematics books listed in MathPath Yearbook. :) She grew so much - personally, intellectually and half an inch physically, don't let them disparage the cafeteria food! :-) I was very touched to see how many adults left personal messages in her Yearbook giving praise and expressing confidence in her.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for giving our daughter this unique opportunity to meet her "tribe", to see the adult ​mathematician role models, and to increase her thirst for knowledge and intellectual adventure ten-fold. We are also deeply grateful for the financial aid that enabled her to attend MathPath. You are opening doors for those kids, you are giving them opportunities to excel and you are providing examples of happy, harmonious, highly accomplished adults who still remember what it was like to be a child. Thanks a lot for doing that. We as parents appreciate it immensely.


MP is the only camp I am aware of that 1) exclusively targets gifted middle school students, and 2) mostly focuses on math breadth instead of contest techniques.

We chose MP over other camps because our child can still get the contest skill training at home with parental help, but cannot get the broad math exposure available at MP.

Our experiences (mine and my child's) indicate that MP does a fine job on fulfilling its stated goals.

     Lu Feng

MathPath is a mathematical wonderland for highly-motivated, highly-gifted middle-school students who are inspired by the deep mysteries of both pure and applied mathematics and hunger to be mentored by educators who share similar passions. MathPath is not for students who are singularly focused on a rigorously formulaic, didactic academic progression towards "math mastery" simply in order to achieve recognition and honors, but, rather, is for students who already intuitively realize that "mere mastery" is an illusion, and that the best answers to be pursued are the ones that exist in the fissures between science and art, seen and unseen, particle and wave, and the canon and the not yet contemplated. To paraphrase Socrates, at MathPath "wisdom begins with wonder."

Students self-select two courses each week, for a total of eight courses over the four weeks, diving into issues seemingly as diverse as KenKen algorithms, spherical geometry, theories of relativity and origami math. My son emerged from these many dives with a newfound appreciation not only for how much he did not yet know and needed to learn but how much opportunity there is in the field of math for him to spend a well-lived lifetime discovering answers and connections and even more questions. Memorably, upon returning home he excitedly showed us hundreds of photographs through his computer on our television, calling out the names of each of his many newfound friends over and over again. Then, at one particular picture, he immediately jumped up off the coach, ran towards the television and enthusiastically pointed at scribbles on a blackboard and earnestly exclaimed "This formula changed my life forever." A part of me was jealous, as I have never encountered a challenge that motivated me to dedicate my life to a pursuit, but I am, also, as a parent, so appreciative that my son has found such overflowing passion via MathPath.

Four weeks is a long time for a twelve year old to live at camp, and my son had never been away from his family before and, frankly, was terrified to leave home for such a long time. We, his parents, feared that he would be only the second child ever to leave the program because of homesickness and that such would be perceived by our son as a personal failure that would inhibit him from taking future risks. In short, we wondered whether or not MathPath was "too much, too soon." All worries were unfounded. Our son immediately took great comfort in the rhythm of daily MathPath life, which includes not only American-style classroom-based classes but also thrice-daily British style plenaries by numerous famous professors on both continuing topics such as the history of mathematics and individual professors' passion projects. And then there were the sports and games and trips, and all-around fun. Every night our son would regale us with the blow-by-blow details of yet another adventure: a down-to-the-wire soccer game, a girl who took on 14 boys in a chess match all at once, a card-game bluff of bluffs, an "amazing" tubing trip, a Twins baseball game, a birthday party, and, quote-unquote, "the best football catch ever made in a pick-up game."

What he talks about most now that he has returned home is the instructors who taught him. I would say that he is in awe of them, but he feels too close to them to be in awe. Instead, he feels great gratitude for his instructors and he is now so much more mathematically confident himself because he knows that important people took the time to invest in and care for him -- and that these instructors are real people just like him and that one day he can be just like them.

MathPath gave my son confidence to grow into himself. For that, I will be ever grateful. Oh, and the icing on the cake is that he learned how to do his own laundry, fold his own clothes, and match his socks! Life in our house will never be the same.

MathPath gave my son confidence to grow into himself. For that, I will be ever grateful. Oh, and the icing on the cake is that he learned how to do his own laundry, fold his own clothes, and match his socks! Life in our house will never be the same.

     Michael O'Connor, Jr., Oak Park, Il.


It's a fantastic summer camp. My camper still talks about it and not only will your child learn math in a fun and interesting way but also make new friends and enjoy fun recreational activities. All faculty are top-notch, super knowledgeable and have a unique way of engaging students of this age. Staff and counselors are terrific too! Highly recommend!

Our son thrived at MathPath, where he spent four glorious weeks doing the thing he loves best: learning, listening, talking, and playing with others who are passionate about mathematics. For the first time, he found all his favorite activities in one spot: problem solving, chess, table tennis, cubing. He also found many new friends.

MathPath was a refreshing experience. We have a child who is not interested in "traditional" summer camp experiences, and is hungry for opportunities to learn. MathPath allowed him to flourish in an environment with other students who share in many of his interests, and in his ability to concentrate. It is unusual for him to find peers in this arena, and the fact that MathPath looks for students who engage the material in this way was a huge service to us that we could never accomplish on our own. It was an opportunity for our son to meet others just like him.

I tell parents that for kids this age, there are more or less 2 types of (elite) math camp. One type is for contest math and the other is for deeper math that is more similar to what professional mathematicians are interested in. I tell them that for middle school age kids, MathPath is hands down the best of the 2nd types of camp and is a very special experience. I recommend it highly to other parents and kids.

Dr. Thomas, in his closing remarks, said that he hopes when asked about the camp, the students would reply that it was an extended math conference, peppered with field trips and games to disguise it as a summer camp. That is about right. I have described it to friends as a world apart, in which my children can explore mathematics broadly for the sake of understanding, not for what it can do. This is a little off-topic, but I so appreciate how strict you are about technology. It makes all the difference to the students, but also to us as parents, knowing they are engaged in age-appropriate activities, and are encouraged to spend their time learning from mentors, books, their own thoughts, and each other. It reinforces some of the important life lessons we are trying to give at home. I so appreciate the sacrifices made in order for these students to have this wonderful opportunity.

MathPath is great and unique because of the atmosphere of people getting together to do what they love - math. My son is walking around hugging his notebook and teaching theory of relativity to anyone who happens to pass by. Such enthusiasm can be only sparked by adults who love what they are doing - and that's what I look for in summer camp in the first place. Thank you MathPath!

Mathpath has a great math program, but is more than just math. It is a packed camp with many activities in addition to math - field trips, sports, board games, movies, etc. If your child, like ours, needs more quiet and alone time, and can't take in so much in a day without melting at the end of the day, it might not be the right camp for you.

It's middle school aged kids learning serious math. What's "serious math"? With "serious math", it's not enough to just know something; you have to prove it and you have to prove it properly. Our daughter loves MathPath. She doesn't get to do enough "serious math" in her regular school and she enjoyed doing "serious math" together with friends who likes math as much as she does.

The only way to describe MathPath is that it is a unique mathematical immersion experience for high-achieving middle school age children. It brings together a selective group of emerging youth and allows them to express themselves and explore their abilities in a safe, nurturing and fun-loving environment!

My son was already very advanced in math before going to camp. However, Math Path showed a whole new mathematical world to him and inspired him tremendously. He even gave me his own drawings of 'Area of Ford Circles' and 'Nine-Point Circle Theorem' as birthday gift, mentioning these are the most beautiful pictures in the world to him.

Wow. My child is normally not very sociable, but he ate up every minute with this group of kids. I feel like for the first time, he found his rightful peers: kids who are intense; who love a crazy challenge, whether in math or chess; and who have a quirky, smart sense of humor about themselves and the world around them. On top of that, the humorous, light-hearted camaraderie he described between students and faculty was a huge bonus. Needless to say, the academic component of this camp was exceptional, but I am thrilled that the social component was perhaps the greatest glory in my son's life to date. Bravo!

Mathpath immersed my kid to the breath and depth of math she has never heard of. Although she is lost at times, the beauty of math came through.

MathPath is an intense math camp for kids who love math. Our son had an amazing experience. He loved all parts of the program. His only regret was that there classes he didn't have a chance to take. He can't wait to go back next summer.

My daughter is a quite child but very intense when it comes to mathematics. All these years, she has been complaining about how bored she was in school. This is the first time that she enjoyed her full 4 weeks thoroughly. The lectures, plenaries and other activities were excellent, she learned an enormous amount while enjoying her social life. According to her, she now gets the big picture on how different parts of math fits together and how one approaches certain proofs rigorously. She was very happy to meet kids who are like her and utterly enjoyed how the camp staff dealt with every situation with care and humor. While food got boring after first couple of days, this is the very first time that she did not want to come back from a camp. We'll very much like to send her and her younger brother to MathPath next year. Our sincere thanks to teachers, staff and everyone else who made this camp so great.

MathPath is probably the best experience you can give your mathematically interested middle schooler. You will be sending your child to a celebration of Mathematics which will open his eyes to the breadth of the endeavor as the topics covered will include many subjects that will not be taught until college or graduate school. These topics are taught by skilled teachers with infectious passion and who are genuinely interested in the campers. The emphasis is enrichment rather than acceleration, co-operation rather than competition with a good dose of fun and excursions thrown in. Wondering if he will fit in? The qualifying test is an excellent litmus test. If he makes it through the qualifying test on his own steam and without too much nagging and perhaps even enjoys it, this is definitely the right camp.

I was able to visit at the end of camp and was particularly impressed that when I spoke to faculty and camp leadership, they knew my son and his interests, recalled playing chess with him or his contributions in class. They were interacting with the kids both in class and out of it. Also loved the no electronics policy.

Our child loves math and works ahead in school to a considerable degree, and still wants more. MathPath provided more, and left him happy and wanting even more. A very happy thing for a very curious child.

Can you imagine that the kids cried and didn't want to leave each other after three weeks of doing MATH problems together? That must tell you something.

The whole team did such a great job. The report at the end was so insightful and detailed, it was great to have received that and impressive that you did that for every child! Also the photos that were posted during the camp were a great way to keep up to date on the overall atmosphere. It made me a bit nervous to have my 11-year old boy somewhere without some intermediate feedback that everything was OK - but it was probably healthy and I learned to accept the "no news = good news" approach.

The camp is very well organized. We love mathematical writing education, the various math subjects, history education and other recreational activities you provided.The teacher's response was quick.We also really like one-room-one-student policy and strict cell phone policy.

MathPath is unique in focusing on 10-14 year olds, just at the brink of transitioning into teenagers. This is when they most need guidance on who they are and what they want to become. MathPath sparks their interest in topics that can be advanced but are taught in a very simple and interesting manner; it's like giving the child a kaleidoscope into the beauty of maths and letting him play with it himself. There's no other camp like it and the kids have a great time!

As a mathematically talented kid, my son has the opportunity to meet so many kids like himself in MathPath. He no longer feels himself as a outlier of school kids. We see huge positive impact on him of the MathPath experience.

MathPath was a great experience for our daughter. The exposure to different areas of math than she receives at school invigorated her interest in the subject. She stays in touch with her peers around the world, and living independently from her parents has matured her and given her better life skills.

MathPath is for kids who have been itching for a math experience significantly more challenging and conceptual than they get in virtually any school curriculum. If your child is a self-starter and loves math, I cannot imagine a better experience.

MathPath was a life-changing experience, absolutely worth the price. We both are mathematicians and we have always been happy to talk to our son about math, but what we could not provide was an environment where he could learn math together with other students with similar interests. I have to say that MathPath was a humbling experience for him, but in a very good way. He realized that there are kids who know a lot more math and who are smarter than him but this made him more interested and motivated. Before MathPath he would often either solve a problem in five minutes or would give up and ask for hints. We see a lot more perseverance now. Of course, most importantly, he made quite a few friends at MathPath and had a very good time there. He is hooked and hopes to come back next year.

Last updated October 5, 2016
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