Faculty

Valentin Vornicu, Director and Main Instructor
Valentin Vornicu has a Masters of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of Bucharest, and has been teaching math to gifted students for 10 years. He founded the MathLinks Forums for Olympiad students in 2002, which in 2004 merged with the Art of Problem Solving site to create the world’s largest math forum.
Since 2007 he has been one of the main instructors of the AoPS Online School, and a WOOT instructor. A well known member of the math teaching community, he has been a mentor for many bright students.
As a student, Valentin earned numerous awards at national and international mathematical competitions, culminating with the Bronze Medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad in 2002. He also participated in over 30 math camps, including the prestigious Math Olympiad Summer Program (MoSP). This experience helps him curtail his camp classes so that the students benefit the most from them. In the past years he has been invited to teach at other math summer camps, such as USA-Canada Math Camp and Math Zoom.
Valentin’s current occupation, besides running the MathLinks Camp and teaching AoPS Classes, is to tutor gifted students for AIME and USAMO. He has coached numerous successful Olympiad students (among which are 4 IMO Medalists), and one of his younger students last year was a USAMO winner. He authored the widely used Romanian text “The Math Olympiad, from Challenge to Experience” and he even has created a theorem.
Naoki Sato, Instructor
Naoki won first place in the 1993 Canadian Mathematical Olympiad, and represented Canada at the 1992 and 1993 IMOs, winning a bronze and silver medal, respectively. He has also served as deputy leader for the Canadian IMO team in 1997, 2002, and 2006.
A native of Toronto, Canada, Naoki earned a Bachelor’s in mathematics from the University of Toronto, and a Master’s in mathematics from Yale University. Since 2005 he has been working for Art of Problem Solving as the Director of their WOOT program, developing math curriculum and teaching online classes.
Dr. Dragos Oprea, Instructor
Dragos graduated from Harvard College in 2000, and got a PhD from MIT in 2005. After 3 years at Stanford, Dragos joined the UCSD Math Department as an Assistant Professor in 2008. His area of research is algebraic geometry and mathematical physics.
As a student, Dragos represented Romania in 4 International Math Olympiads between 1993 and 1996 winning 4 medals (1 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze). He was part of the Romanian team that took first place in the 1996 IMO. He also represented Romania at 2 Balkan Math Olympiads winning 2 gold medals. In addition, he won first prize in the Romanian National Olympiad between 1993-1996. In college, Dragos participated in the Putnam Exam, becoming Putnam Fellow in 1996.
Dr. Claudiu Raicu, Instructor
Claudiu has a Ph.D. in Mathematics from UC Berkeley, and has been involved in mathematical competitions for many years. He taught several lectures for high-school students as part of the Berkeley Math Circle program. Claudiu participated, both as a student and as an instructor, in the Romanian training programs for the International Mathematical Olympiad. He won two silver medals at IMO ’02 and ’03.
David Balmin, Instructor
David Balmin earned his MS degree in Mathematics from Donetsk State University in the former U.S.S.R. He has worked as a computer software engineer over thirty years in the United States, specializing in scientific, mathematical, and engineering applications. In high school, he successfully participated in Math Olympiads.
He is one of the regular instructors at the San Diego Math Circle, although currently retired from computer-related work, he now specializes in advanced math tutoring. David and his wife Ann and live in the San Carlos area of San Diego, not far from San Diego State University. Among his other interests are chess, music, foreign languages, developing Android mobile phone applications, reading, sailing and bicycle riding.
Other Instructors
There will be other instructors at the Camp. Their biographies will be uploaded soon.
Richard Rusczyk, Guest Speaker
Richard founded the Art of Problem Solving in 2003 to create interactive educational opportunities for avid math students.
He is one of the co-authors of the Art of Problem Solving classic textbooks, author of Art of Problem Solving’s Introduction to Algebra, Introduction to Geometry, and Precalculus textbooks, co-author of Art of Problem Solving’s Intermediate Algebra and Prealgebra, one of the co-creators of the Mandelbrot Competition, and a past Director of the USA Mathematical Talent Search. He was a participant in National MATHCOUNTS, a three-time participant in the Math Olympiad Summer Program, and a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner (1989). He graduated from Princeton University in 1993, and worked as a bond trader for D.E. Shaw & Company for four years. AoPS marks Richard’s return to his vocation – educating motivated students.
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