By Emma Juchau
Seventh grade, 2008: Amanda Glazer was a new student at Harper Junior High. She was placed in Algebra I, and within a few weeks, knew that it wasn’t right for her. The class was too easy. Glazer began taking online math classes in order to challenge herself.
By the end of her seventh grade year, Glazer had finished Calculus.
Now a mathematics major at Harvard University, former DHS student Amanda Glazer looks back on her high school years with fondness. Many years of hard work, Advanced Placement classes and UC Davis courses played roles in getting her to where she is today.
During middle school, Amanda took math classes online: Multivariable Calculus, Linear Algebra, Modern Algebra and Differential Equations. By tenth grade, she was ready for college math and science classes.
“It was actually pretty amazing [to watch] and also a little scary, especially the first time she went to UC Davis and I dropped her off,” said Debbie Glazer, Amanda’s mom. “She actually really loves math, so […] I felt fortunate that we had the university close so she could take math classes.”
“It was kind of pointless for her to take any high school [math] classes because she’d already done them when she was like 12 and 13,” Amanda’s best friend Yasmine Kouchesfahani said.
Glazer took a heavy load at UCD.
“Two quarters of Modern Algebra, a quarter of Partial Differential Equations […] Number Theory, Applied Linear Algebra, Mathematical Finance [and] Differential Geometry,” she recalled.
Taking so many academic classes was never easy, but Glazer was able to balance her workload well.
“I always made sure that she knew it was okay; if she signed up for a class and it was too much, it was always okay to drop it,” her mom said
Glazer also made time to be a part of Academic Decathalon, Mu Alpha Theta, Mathletes, Math and Science Tutors, Women in STEM, French Club, Guitar Club and Feminism Club during her years at DHS.
Getting into a well-renowned school like Harvard isn’t simple; Glazer recognizes that everyone at Harvard was admitted because of something that made them stand out. For Glazer, that was her love for math.
“I just kept doing math because I liked it,” she said, noting that good grades and test scores are essential to getting into a good college because it forms a basis for how colleges evaluate you. However, it isn’t the only attribute.
“I think it’s really just finding something you’re passionate about and going with it, like for me that was math,” Glazer said.
Glazer knows that her peers at Harvard are all there for different reasons.
“It’s interesting because you do see a really wide range of people, and they’re all really smart.”
Glazer’s college counselor recommended that she only apply to colleges that she would be happy going to–safety schools included. After careful consideration, she applied to 15 colleges including Harvard, UC Santa Cruz, UC San Diego, UC Berkeley and Princeton. She was accepted to 14 of the 15.
“I got wait-listed at Yale,” Glazer remembered, smiling.
Choosing from those schools was a difficult process involving location, social environment and the political climate of the community. Glazer initially wanted to attend Princeton, but changed her mind for several reasons, one being that “the trees were kind of creepy there.”
Glazer eventually wants to go to graduate school and get a Ph.D. in mathematics. Her goal is to become a professor.
“I might double major in computer science or statistics, I’m not really sure yet,” she said. “I could definitely see myself going into a tech field or doing something in data analytics or data science, but for now the plan is to just go to grad school for math and to just keep doing it.”