About Us

Our Back-Story

Paul and Sam met as graduate students at Rutgers University, where they studied descriptive set theory (they have published several research papers together). Meanwhile Paul and Sam became involved in the experimental School of Mathematics in Brooklyn, where math was done in a purely Socratic style, and later were inspired to launch Math Circles in their areas. Recently, Paul and Sam teamed up with Japheth Wood to write a book for math circle facilitators. In 2021, Sam and Paul wanted to help others see the beauty that they saw in math, and launched the Pure Math Academy.

Our Teachers

Paul Ellis received his PhD from Rutgers University, held a postdoc at University of Connecticuit, and is currently a professor at Manhattanville College. Paul runs the Westchester Area Math Circle. He was the head math teacher at the Math League Summer Tournament in Beijing (before COVID-19 shut down international travel).

Sam Coskey received his PhD from Rutgers University (under the same advisor as Paul), held postdocs at CUNY and the Fields Institute, and is currently a professor at Boise State University. Sam runs the Boise Math Circle.

Japheth Wood met Sam and Paul in the growing NYC math-enrichment community of the early 2010s, where he directed the New York Math Circle. He returned to the Mid-Hudson Valley to teach at Bard College and direct the Bard Math Circle. Japheth has also taught at the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Math program and has been rebuilding the Upstate New York Math Team.

Sikimeti Ma'u earned her PhD at Rutgers University (with Paul and Sam). She then spent years as a postdoc in the trendy area of symplectic topology, based mostly in Berkeley. She then moved to Italy where she teaches math in Verona and Venice.