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As high school junior, Chen founds Eat Pie math institute

In exercises with Eat Pie Institute of Mathematics, an intern and a student contribute to problem writing and solving in MATHCOUNTS B study. (CONTRIBUTED)
In exercises with Eat Pie Institute of Mathematics, an intern and a student contribute to problem writing and solving in MATHCOUNTS B study. (CONTRIBUTED)
Sabrina Chen signals 'thumbs-up' approval after receiving her national medal at the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards' ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City. (CONTRIBUTED)
Sabrina Chen signals ‘thumbs-up’ approval after receiving her national medal at the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards’ ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – As a junior at Bob Jones High School, Sabrina Chen is an enterprising youth who has founded Eat Pie Institute of Mathematics.

Chen is helping fellow students excel in STEM-related studies (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Eat Pie’s mission is to create “a self-sustaining learning network, in which the community teaches the community and anybody can affect change, regardless of age. It’s about connection and building friendships,” Chen said.

At the recent Vestavia Hill math contest, 15 of 28 students winning awards participate in Eat Pie. A few are institute interns.

“Over the past four years, I’ve been thrilled to see what started as a five-person school expand to a mathematical community of nearly 50 learners and teachers across Madison County,” Chen said. “Our students have won national competitions in mathematics, including the only two Alabama students to qualify for the U.S. Junior Mathematics Olympiad.”

Chen is Eat Pie’s CEO and chief instructor. Instructors include Jordan Cozby, Aditi Limaye and Jaker Yang. Assistant instructors are Tanuj Alapati, Joey Li and Winston Van. Interns for 2014 are Sam Thompson and Alan Grissom.

Each summer, she devotes 500-plus hours in administrative work, teaching, developing curriculum and mentoring interns and instructors. “I was solely responsible for mathematical preparation of the Alabama State MATHCOUNTS Team” that advanced to 2013 nationals.

MATHCOUNTS students and Chen worked eight weeks in two-hour Skype sessions, linking Madison, Huntsville, Birmingham and Auburn. They also completed six-hour weekend practices in Birmingham.

“I’ve never considered it work. It’s another chance to give back to the community,” Chen said.

Chen is adding humanities classes for advanced debate workshop and “Theory of Everything” for philosophy and linguistics. Chen collected numerous honors for poetry from Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards last year at Carnegie Hall.

“Math, without connections, is just a blank slate … Human connections, communication and loyalty engendered along the road form a Hamiltonian cycle in the end,” Chen said.

For more information, visit eat-pie.net and click links for class descriptions and achievements.

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