UIUC Math Circle is a free weekly extracurricular math program for late middle school and high school students in the Champaign-Urbana area.
We aim to teach advanced mathematics at a gentle pace, starting each month-long session at the level of school mathematics and developing the background, theory, and computations needed to understand more difficult and interesting results.

We will have two tracks, one nominally for grades 8–9 and one nominally for grades 10–11. The tracks will be led by different instructors. Feel free to join whichever track best interests you!

Meet the instructors

Alex Song

Alex Song 

I'm Alex, a graduate student at UIUC since 2022. I enjoy thinking about teaching mathematics and the interface between school math and discrete math, including combinatorics and number theory. I like to play strategy games such as Dominion and think about markets. I also won a few math olympiads

Ryan McConnell

Ryan McConnell

I'm Ryan, and I started graduate studies at UIUC in 2019, specializing in dispersive PDEs and harmonic analysis with an undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University. I didn't grow up wanting to be a mathematician—in fact, I wanted to be a fire truck. However, since it's a little too late to be a fire truck, I decided that I ought to lean into this whole "math" thing and do some outreach.

Kendra Song

Kendra Song

Hello, my name is Kendra! I began graduate math at UIUC in 2022. Previously, I worked as a software engineer at Microsoft, where I helped build Microsoft Teams. I enjoy playing games, piano, reading, and napping with my cats.


Why should I attend Math Circle?

Math Circle allows for a comfortable and collaborative environment in which students can engage with mathematics outside of the standard—almost rote—memorization. In particular, we aim to introduce students to the fun side of mathematics, as well as work to strengthen their problem-solving abilities. As problem solving and curiosity are integral not only to mathematics but to any STEM field, Math Circle serves as an introduction to engagement with higher STEM material.

Will Math Circle help me prepare for math competitions?

While the material we cover may help you prepare for math competitions, the main goal of Math Circle is to show interesting mathematical results. Speed and computations are less of a priority than they would be for competitions.

​​​​​​​How old do I have to be to participate?

We recommend being in at least late middle school to participate, as the teaching will be geared towards students of this level of social and academic maturity.

Should I bring anything to Math Circle?

 Bring something to write with; we will have paper available, but bring a notebook if you prefer.

​​​​​​​I cannot make it to one of the classes. Will the lessons be recorded?

We will not record lessons. However, we will upload materials from class online after each class.

​​​​​​​What kinds of topics will be covered in Math Circle?

We try to avoid covering topics that you would learn at school, in the algebra/geometry/calculus track. However, we will cover particular applications of algebra and geometry, as well as extracurricular math topics such as algorithms, combinatorics, logic, number theory, and topology. 

Can I see an example curriculum?

A fun example of math circle problems would be Wisconsin-Madison's Chomp, involving game theory.

Contact Us


Have a question we didn't answer above? Send it to uiucmathcircles@gmail.com.