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Ying Gao

Ying Gao

When I was little, my dad would give me math riddles to solve in the mornings as we walked to school. How many factors does 192 have? How many dozens can be made out of five flavors of donut? What’s the sum of the positive integers up to 100? What made these questions fun back then was that despite seeming like tedious, arbitrary calculations, they had simple solutions that were actually kind of neat and not so accidental. What makes math enjoyable to me now is surprisingly similar.

What I’ve gained between then and now is an appreciation for math’s capacity to solve physical problems. Through the research, internships, and math competitions that I did in high school, I’ve been fortunate to meet mathematicians who work on solving problems not only in pure math but also in data science, economics, biology, and a whole slew of other fields. They’ve shown me that math can be applied to almost anything, and also that concrete problems in other fields can motivate some of the most abstractly interesting mathematical ideas out there. As I look forward to my four years as a math major here at MIT, I hope to understand math in itself and through its applications, and to eventually grow into the role of my mentors in helping girls understand what math has to offer.

I’m very excited to be working with the girls in USWIM to support math in and beyond the MIT community. I hope that we’ll continue to support and learn from each other as the semester goes on.

Class: 2018
Course: Course 18
Extracurricular Activities: USWIM Outreach Chair, UROP in Course 18, HMMT Spokesperson, MIT Science Olympiad Event Director