A letter from co-Editor-in-Chief and previous participant of the AMC 10/12 competition
My name is Carl Yerger, co-Editor-in-Chief of the AMC 10/12 Exam. I’m writing to you today to tell you about my experiences with the AMC program and why you should consider incorporating AMC contests as part of your academic program.
I got started with the AMC as a student in 1997 when the exam was offered in my school. I lived in a small town in Pennsylvania. The only two mathematics activities offered by my school were MATHCOUNTS and AMC exams. These opportunities were a source of motivation for me and were some of the only times that I truly felt challenged as a student. Many of the individual problems provoked inquiry that fostered questions about areas of mathematics that are often not emphasized at the high school level such as number theory and advanced combinatorial techniques.
I can definitely say that without the AMC exam, I would not be where I am today. When I took the exam, the contact information of the top scorers was released to various organizations. As a result, I received a letter that would change my life. Keep in mind that my parents did not attend college and there were few sources of mathematical role models around my hometown. The letter invited me to attend the Hampshire College Summer Studies Mathematics Program and is where I was introduced to a student staff member attending Harvey Mudd College. Prior to this, I never heard of this college. However, six weeks later, this experience shaped my life forever making Harvey Mudd College my top college choice. The Hampshire Program, and the AMC, helped guide me towards a path that ultimately led to the college I attended.
For me, it is important to give back to the mathematical community and support students who want to go further but may not have the resources or support to do so. Ever since I began my faculty position at Davidson College, I wanted to find ways to reach out to the broader community. To this end, I have been a member of the coordinating committee of the Charlotte Mathematics Club since 2010 and jumped at the opportunity to join the AMC editorial board in 2013. I have served as co-Editor-in-Chief of the AMC 10/12 exams since 2016. I enjoy writing and editing problems to spark the interests of students like me who want to explore new mathematical ideas.
The AMC is more than an exam. AMC is a community and it creates opportunities. Moreover, AMC has a broader mathematical reach than any other high school mathematics contest because it is offered in so many schools both in the United States and around the world. Over 300,000 students in over 40 countries participate each year. It is relatively inexpensive, easy to administer, and offers a window to curious students of mathematics beyond the typical high school curriculum. We hope that the AMC exams will help to inspire future generations of students to pursue STEM disciplines and we encourage you and your students to join us this academic year!
Chair, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Davidson College
Co-Editor-in-Chief, AMC 10/12