Hello my name is Sumanth Sura, and I’m currently a junior at the Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science! Here’s a little bit of information on who I am so you can get to know me a bit better! I previously attended Westborough High School as a freshman and sophomore.
To learn more about me, click here to view my MAMS admission video! I also post math videos on my personal YouTube channel.
I enjoy playing tennis, and I’ve been playing competitively ever since I was a kid. My dad loved the sport his whole life, but due to lack of resources in India he was never able to play it. He spread his passion to me, and I knew I was meant for the sport the second I picked up a racket for the first time. I love competing in USTA tournaments, and I’ve made a lot of friends. I’ve come to see the tennis court as my sanctuary, the place where I can be in the zone and release all the stresses of the day. I also have quite the competitive nature and playing tennis (and all sports in general) brings out this part of me. I also played for the Westborough High School tennis team; we made it to the state finals for two years running. I plan on returning this spring to catch that state title!
I also enjoy doing mathematics, having done competition math ever since I was a kid. I really enjoy proofs, especially those in number theory and geometry (examples: the 3N + 1 problem (aka Collatz conjecture, [unsolved]) and the nine-point circle (Euler, [proven 1765]). CURRENTLY STUDYING (in my free time): class number theory, which involves the study of L-functions. L-functions are manipulated versions of more complicated functions. For example, one notorious function is the Riemann zeta function ( ζ(s) = 1^(-s) + 2^(-s) + 3^(-s) + ... + n^(-s) + ...) . One possible L-function for the zeta function involves flipping the signs of the terms of the original function according to the output of an "extended Legendre symbol", denoted (n / p), which outputs 1 if n is a quadratic residue of p, and -1 if it is not. Multiplying this term to each regular term of the Riemann zeta function gives us a new function which has similar properties. I hope that someday within my lifetime the Riemann hypothesis will be solved!
I frequently participate in math competitions and attend math events. I am a 3-time qualifier for AIME, 2-time MAML Level 2 qualifier, got the top AMC 10 score at my sending school in both freshman and sophomore year, and more. I enjoy competition-style problems because of the creativity needed to tackle these problems. Doing such problems gives me great joy!
I also enjoy doing community service because I find it important to give back to the community. A lot of my service has been through teaching. I volunteered for Bighelp for Education in the summer of ‘21, an organization dedicated to improving education in India. They work to sponsor the education of children in India who are at risk of dropping their studies due to financial reasons, strengthen government schools in India (government schools in India are far more inadequate for students than private schools, and most families in India send their kids to private schools but they’re very expensive), and provide scholarships for students in India. I taught students math and English over Zoom for the Bighelp Brightstar program. I taught kids in grades 1-6 for over 80 hours. I think teaching is a very rewarding experience because you get to interact with kids. Since I love math, I enjoy sharing my love for math with the students.
One volunteering activity I participated in the summer of ‘22 was teaching math to students for the North South Foundation (very similar to what I did the year previously). For 4 weeks, I helped students prepare for the Advanced Mathcounts math competition. I think I taught my students to form connections and ran the class a little differently than I did with Bighelp. I broke up the students into break out rooms and would assist them in certain parts of finding the solution. I took this class as a kid back when I was in 5th grade, so being able to teach it made me feel good to pass down this tradition to the younger generation. I like to think about math as a way to spread joy to others. Solving problems – from the new to the old, from those with convoluted solutions to those with an elegant trick – sparks joy in people and I wanted to spread that joy. I taught mostly fifth to sixth graders, and teaching this competition math with them also gave me a great sense of nostalgia, having done similar problems myself at that age. I was also able to see new solutions that the students came up with that I wouldn’t have done back then. The hours I earned from this service also gave me the Bronze Presidential Volunteer Service Award
I am also part of Verity Opportunities, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of the Massachusetts community. I've helped host a math competition (along with writing a lot of the problems - that was fun!) and have raked trails in both Northborough and Westborough!
The main volunteering event I participated in this year was teaching for NorthSouth Foundation, or NSF. I taught math to students in middle-school age (7th grade) and I learned many valuable lessons. My main takeaway from it was that it takes a lot of effort to keep student engagement. I actually had lots of fun coming up with original problems (which I enjoy doing in my free time for things other than volunteering), and sometimes I also made Kahoots for my students. Occasionally, I had to be an assistant teacher while somebody else was teaching. At first I thought it wouldn't be much but I came to realize the importance of understanding my dynamic with the other teacher. There were some that he could explain better than I, and some that I felt more natural explaining. Even though the work was slow going at first, I was really able to connect with my students. Now, even after the classes, we keep in touch online, talking about math problems and checking in on each other.
Here are some of the other volunteering activities I've done throughout the year: