TP Math Club Interview

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

Author: Diane Zhou (Torrey Pines High School)


Eric Oh - Senior

Sumith Nalabolu - Senior

Jeff Ren - Junior

Giacomo Rizzo- Sophomore

Zhou: What do you think your club needs most right now?

Oh: Members.

Nalabolu: Members.

Zhou: How do you want to achieve that?

Oh: Promotion.

Nalabolu: I think in general, people aren’t interested in Math Club and are not very willing to give [it] a try. I feel like it would be nice if we could somehow get people to understand what Math Club is and that it’s not the same as school math classes. It’s less procedural and formulaic and more interesting.

Zhou: How do you make Math Club engaging? How is Math Club engaging?

Nalabolu: What we do is mainly math contests, which is [not] focused on formulas or advanced calculus. It’s more like how do we take concepts and even topics that we don’t study in school, like combinatorics or number theory, and approach these complicated problems with more simple concepts? How do we problem-solve or think more critically? That’s what we do. So I feel like that’s

a bit more interesting, [at least] in my opinion, and hopefully, other people feel the same way.

Ren: Math Club is engaging if you like math. We delve into harder concepts regularly and we solve harder problems that can’t be solved using traditional common core methods. Problem-solving is fun for people, including me, and that’s why it’s engaging to me.

Rizzo: [Math Club] introduces a level of math that is beyond classroom level math. These topics are usually more challenging, intuitive, and thought-provoking, and that’s what makes these math problems fun.

Zhou: What do you think is a highlight from any competition?

Oh: Having fun at competitions, solving cool problems, and then doing well.

Ren: A highlight would be last year at the Berkeley math tournament, where our school beat CCA in terms of math for the first time in a long time, and that revived school spirit.

Zhou: Last question, which is kind of off topic but I’m curious: do you think math is an innate ability or something that can be developed?

Oh: I definitely think it’s something that’s developed.

Nalabolu: Okay, this is more general, with everything. Everyone has a certain innate ability, but you have to work hard to achieve whatever your ability is. Most people probably have that ability; if you work hard enough, you can do what you want to do.

Ren: If you want to be [good] in any subject, in general, you will have to work hard. You can’t just be born being good at something. But I do think, considering your status and surroundings, it might be harder to work hard to achieve your goal if you’re around people that don’t really care. But in an environment where people actually support you, encourage you, and teach you, I think that with hard work, you can be good at something. Math Club does that. We’re connected and we travel to competitions together, giving a sense of community.

Edited by Jade Nam (Torrey Pines High School)

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