Kind Words from Recent Alumni:
HCSSiM has been a great and memorable experience. It has helped me build new skills and make connections with people that will last through my life. The program showed me a new way of learning mathematics that was not focused on memorizing facts but on exploration and discovery. I had a blast simulating real research and “eureka” moments with all my peers. HCSSiM is an experience that any math enthusiast should have and it has given me a new reason to wish that summer never ended.
— Yanees ’16
“How well did you do on the AIME?” asked someone who I had just recently met. I had recently told him that I enjoyed mathematics, and was planning on attending a six-week summer studies dedicated to it. I hate this question. Not because I didn’t do well on the AIME, but because I had never qualified for it. Test scores have become a standard way of measuring how “good” you are at math, and it seems impossible to avoid.
In fact, the only place in the world where nobody cares about how much math you know is a summer program in mathematics located in Massachusetts (No, it’s not located in New Hampshire). Instead, they care about how much math you can learn. But most of the time, nobody even cares about that. HCSSiM cares about whether you can write eloquent articles for the program journal, or shoot a 3-pointer on the basketball court. Whether you can catch a “blue 90” (our code for Hail Mary frisbee pass), or take an 18th supply center in a game of Diplomacy. Whether you can eat three plates worth of corn dogs, or unicycle upside-down on a helicopter juggling tomatoes with a monkey (this has never been tried before).
It’s not difficult to fit in at HCSSiM. You don’t even have to be “good” at math. It’s really about whether you want to have fun being wacky with friends — and still be on time for Prime Time Theorem at 17 o’clock. I’ll be honest and say that I was worried about not getting my summer tan, but I think you’ll find yourself hard pressed to find a better tan(x) anywhere else.
— Jorge ’16
As someone who initially preferred to learn and solve problems independently, I was thrown aback by the synergetic nature of HCSSiM. However, by the end of the program, my view had drastically changed. HCSSiM showed me the importance of collaboration in mathematics, and provided me with friends that have taught me some of the most interesting mathematical concepts. The friends I made at HCSSiM all brought unique perspectives to the table, and helped me broaden my horizons by teaching me about fields in mathematics that I never really considered. Everyone at HCSSiM was so different yet so similar: we all had diverse backgrounds yet we all loved mathematics just as much as each other. I shall definitely treasure my experience at HCSSiM, as it was undoubtedly one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
— Shawn ’16
When I left for HCSSiM, I was prepared for six weeks of exhausting,
mind-boggling math and already couldn’t wait to fly back home. When I left
HCSSiM, I was unprepared to end the six weeks of math movies, early morning
hikes, Cap’n Crunch, Prime Time dozing, exciting and somewhat mind-boggling
math, and most of all, I wasn’t prepared to bid goodbye to some of the best
(and funniest) friends I’d made my whole life. The good news is that even
after Hampshire, the connections I made and the interests I developed did not
disappear, and I can confidently say HCSSiM has impacted my life for the
— Grace ‘18
Before Hampshire, I learned math in the way I thought you had to: I read
part of a textbook alone, and then did the exercises. At Hampshire, things
were done differently. We’d start with a problem, and then try to figure out
how to solve it. But the staff wouldn’t write a solution on the board. We’d
work on it with our friends until someone got it. And then once someone
finally did, we’d hear them speak without knowing whether or not they were
right. At home, I would read a textbook and then prove some theorems. At
Hampshire, we’d come up with the definitions by ourselves and then conjecture
the theorems on our own. And we’d be wrong. But we learned that, even if we
were wrong at first, almost any good idea can be salvaged. The ideas came
before everything. We didn’t prove random things about random structures, we
turned ideas into theorems. And we did it together—I met some incredible
people and we had a great time doing math together (and going to Atkins
together, playing bridge together, and even trying to model ordinals with
bread…). Six weeks at Hampshire changed the way I viewed math, and gave me
some of the best experiences I’ve ever had. (Plus, almost 289 factoids about
the number 17.)
— Michael ‘18