What's the Big Idea Game Show: Mathematicians of Color | National Math Festival

What's the Big Idea Game Show: Mathematicians of Color

This post features behind-the-scenes content about the 2021 NMF Live Performance Series event "What's the Big Idea? A Game Show Featuring Students and Mathematicians", created and hosted by The Young People's Project.

The mathematicians presenting in the NMF Live Game Show came from settings as diverse as Educational Testing Service (Jessica Andrews-Todd), data scientist for the Milwaukee Brewers (Michael Dairyko), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (John Urschel), the University of Kentucky (Andrés Vindas Meléndez), risk and capital optimization analyst at State Street Corporation (Fega Okwa), and Williams College (Pamela E. Harris). 

Some of the mathematician panelists serve in industry professions, while others are completing their coursework or teach and research at the university level.

Albert Sykes

The NMF Live Game Show was hosted by Albert Sykes, Executive Director of IDEA: The Institute for Democratic Education in America, a supporter of public education for children in the U.S.. He is a graduate of the Young People’s Project, having begun with Bob Moses and the Algebra Project 26 years ago, at age 11.

To learn more about mathematicians of color, consider visiting Mathematically Gifted and Black and Lathisms. Both sites were recommended by the mathematicians on the panel.


What's the Big Idea: 6 Mathematicians
Top row (from left): Jessica Andrews-Todd, Fega Okwa, Pamela E. Harris;
Bottom row (from left): Andrés Vindas Meléndez, Michael Dairyko, John Urschel


"Math doesn't need to be hard, and most people know much more math than they realize. Join us for a fun game show in which mathematicians take turns demystifying seemingly complicated concepts through accessible and thought-provoking presentations! - John Urschel, Ph.D. candidate in mathematics, MIT; Former NFL Lineman, Baltimore Ravens

John Urschel


The Young People's Project (YPP) brings together middle school students and high school mentors to celebrate, encourage, and motivate mathematical learning. Learn more at typp.org.