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About Us

"Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas."

— Albert Einstein

WSMA Team in 2018

The Washington Student Math Association was founded in August 2009 with one central belief: math has the potential to be an enjoyable hobby for people of all ages and backgrounds. In no other place is math done more for enjoyment than in local school math clubs. Our association works towards creating an optimal environment for math clubs across the state of Washington to expand and thrive in a constructive, collaborative network. We operate with the vision that one day, all who wish to pursue an interest or curiosity in math may have the resources, guidance, and opportunities to do so.

What makes the Washington Student Math Association unique is that it is driven primarily by students. Our student leaders from existing clubs not only share and improve club leadership methods among themselves, but are also motivated to draw from their experiences to benefit the community. Student leadership is an advantage that allows our association to extend its influence in a scholastic network covering the state of Washington.

Through the open-ended sharing of the knowledge, experiences, and skills we have learned through our cumulative years in math club, it is our common goal to support the dreams of students of all ages who wish to pursue an interest in the field of mathematics.

Our Mission

"The Washington Student Math Association is a student-driven organization dedicated to promoting the uses and purposes of math that are not generally covered in the current school curriculum. The Washington Student Math Association will accomplish this mission through the advocacy of alternative uses of math and the provision of assistance in the startup and improvement of local math clubs."

If there is one unifying aspect of today's world, it is math. With the rise and continued growth of the Information Age, modern mathematics plays an essential role in not only technology and engineering, but in other career fields as well. At the root of many occupations lie the inherent logical relationships and problem solving tools that are key components of math.

With the multitude of applications that exist for math in today's society, there is understandably an inclination for math to be defined as simply a collection of numbers and logical relationships. However, we firmly believe that math consists of not just practical and textbook purposes, but creative and expressive uses as well.

"There is nothing as dreamy and poetic, nothing as radical, subversive, and psychedelic, as mathematics."
- Paul Lockhart (A Mathematician's Lament)

The Washington Student Math Association aims to raise awareness of the many other purposes of math that exist beyond the practical and the occupational. In doing so, we hope not only to increase awareness of the variety of benefits that math has in modern society, but to promote interest amongst students for the creative aspects of problem solving as well.

Guiding Principles

The following principles reflect the core values and beliefs under which WSMA operates. We base our procedures and main goals in accordance with these guidelines.

Guiding Principle #1: "Teach the man how to fish, but providing him with a fishing rod is just as important."
- WSMA members will lead both by example and through the sharing of resources.

Guiding Principle #2: "The power and capacity of learning exists in the soul already." - Plato (Allegory of the Cave)
- We seek not to establish institutions for others, but to assist aspiring leaders in establishing their own institutions.

Guiding Principle #3:
- The WSMA network will provide opportunities to do math as well as discuss how to lead math clubs.

Guiding Principle #4: "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts."
- We are a community, but rely on consistent contributions from all members in order to function.

Guiding Principle #5:
- All opinions and input have equal value. Thus, spontaneous feedback is just as valuable for us as thorough reasoning.

Guiding Principle #6: "All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants." - John W. Gardner
- Developing supportive and open-minded programs in elementary and middle schools is the gateway to future success and sustainment of WSMA.

Guiding Principle #7: "In youth we learn, in age we understand." - Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach
- We rely upon wisdom and advice from experienced adults and leaders.

For more details about our plan of action, refer to our Services and Mission pages.