Counselors 2020


Daniil Lukin

Graduate student, Stanford University

My PhD work is related to making nanoscale optical structures and manipulating quantum states of individuals atoms, with the goal of contributing to the world-wide effort on making optical quantum computers. When I go to Sigma, I like to bring with me various tech contraptions so we can take them apart. This year in Virtual Sigma I'll be teaching a semilab about Light: Classical and Quantum.


Andrey Lukin

Software Engineer

I have come to Sigma Camp as a student since the very beginning, and have felt how fun and interesting this camp truly is. I love to discuss and hypothesis different crazy ideas, something like constructing a large scale Stirling engine that would run from the equator and down to Antarctica, thus producing the much needed energy for the human race. I would love to listen to other people's amazing ideas, even if they are as unrealistic as mine. Outside of my studies, I love playing music, running, and sometime rock climbing!


Andrey Khesin

Graduate student, MIT

I have been at SigmaCamp since the very beginning. I am currently working on my PhD in Math at MIT. I am always open to chat about math, physics, or even computer science! At SigmaCamp, you can usually find me at the Sigma Tournament, workshops, or the evening clubs. Alternatively, you might find me at the dance classes or facing off in chess or ping-pong. I try to find time to play guitar, so if you want to jam together, let me know!

My research has been all over the place. I have worked on a project involving partial differential equations, written several papers in knot theory, worked on the geometric transportation problem, spent a summer working with ATLAS and at CERN, and even dabbled in entrepreneurship. Currently, I am working on new exciting techniques for simulating quantum computation more efficiently.

Alex Frenkel

Undergraduate, UC Berkeley

This will be my fourth year as a counselor at Sigma Camp. I am graduating from UC Berkeley as a physics major this May (2019), and I will be pursuing a Ph.D. in theoretical physics at Stanford University as an NSF Fellow afterwards. My current research is in the realm of quantum gravity, and for my graduate work I will be studying both high energy and condensed matter theory. My other academic interests include math, computer science, political science, and history.

I play a lot of tennis, some chess, and enjoy following both tennis and other professional sports.


 Natasha Butkevich 

Cornell University Alumna

I am delighted to return to Sigma for my fourth year on the SigmaStaff, and sixth year overall. My academic interests include microbiology and infectious disease (mainly bacteria, although I am fascinated by parasites and other minuscule creatures), marine science, immunology, and printmaking. In my free time, I enjoy making detailed drawings, watercolor paintings, and/or three-dimensional, geometric structures out of paper using unnecessarily complicated printmaking processes. Recently, I’ve picked up ballroom dancing (after 12 years of ballet); I lead Latin/Rhythm and follow Standard. I’m excited to meet everyone online at SigmaCamp this year!


Zofii Kaczmarek

Research Associate, Beyond Meat

Hi! This will be my fifth year as a counselor at Sigma, and it will certainly be a unique one. I'm looking forward to exploring the challenge of running an online camp, as well as the possibilities and creativity that these new constraints inspire.

I'm currently working at Beyond Meat, in their R&D/Innovation department. I didn't expect to work on food company, given that my background is in microbiology and physics, but it's exciting to be working on plant-based meat and at a company that prioritizes sustainability.

Outside of work, I spend my time social dancing and playing games, and I organize a monthly contra dance. Of course, those have been mostly put on hold during the pandemic, but I look forward to the days when our communities can come together in person again.


Lev Bershadsky

Undergraduate, Harvard College 

Lev goes to Harvard College and is a member of Harvard Undergraduate Robotics team. He has attended Sigma camp as a camper 3 times and was counselor last year. Lev was a member of National Honor Society, and he participated in Quiz Bowl, math teams, and Science Olympiad. Other than STEM, Lev enjoys tennis, sailing, and kendo. During his time at Sigma he ran a workshop that taught people how to fly quadcopters and build rocket engines. Lev was teacher's assistant at School Nova where he assisted a 7th grade math class. In his spare time Lev likes to build multirotors and destroy the patriarchy.


Sophia Abanov

Undergraduate, The University of Chicago

I have been coming to Sigma since the very first year, and I’m excited to be back for my fourth year as a counselor. I am a math major at UChicago and I’ve also taken several classes in physics, computer science and economics. In my free time, I like staying active and though I’m not particularly great at any sport, I’ve dabbled in quite a few like soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, and cheerleading. One of my favorite things at Sigma are workshops. I enjoy teaching them and attending those done by other counselors because everyone at Sigma is really really cool and has amazing things to share. One workshop I have taught in the past is about the geometry that can be found within the card game SET.


Jacob Kudria

Undergraduate, Stony Brook University

Hi! I just finished my sophomore year at Stony Brook University: I’m a pre-med student pursuing a major in applied mathematics and statistics, with minors in chemistry and biology. This will be my 8th year with Sigma, and 5th as a counselor. As you can probably tell by the mouthful above, I’m curious about everything and can’t seem to settle on one subject - ultimately I chose to major in math, although I do still want to go into medicine. Outside of academics you can find usually find me reading anything I can get my hands on (fiction and nonfiction), or else finding new music to explore. I’m excited to meet new faces and reconnect with the old, so lets make the most of virtual Sigma!



Priya Srikumar

Undergraduate, Cornell University

This will be my fourth year as a Counselor at Sigma, and I couldn't be more excited to meet all of you! I study computer science, and I'm particularly interested in robotics, programming languages, and algorithm development. I speak Tamil, French, Korean, and a little Russian (though I'm still learning!). I’m an avid reader of both fiction and nonfiction; come talk to me for book recommendations! I also practice several combat sports, including boxing, wrestling, and Muay Thai. I enjoy debating (I am on my school's team), and greatly enjoy stimulating discussion. More than anything, though, I treasure getting to know you as a camper and connecting with you about your own interests and experiences. I can't wait to see you at Sigma!


Nestor Tkachenko

Undergraduate, Harvard College

Hello, I'm Nestor and I'm very excited to return to sigma camp as a counselor again! I love doing new things, exploring possibilities nobody has ventured through and creating what has never been thought of. I hope to share my love of creativity and innovation with all of you and help you discover your passions.

I am personally very interested in physics and technology as well as entrepreneurship. I do everything from building robots and creating levitating vehicles, to shocking people to make them dance. I’m currently working on creating an electric scooter sharing service in Cambridge for college students.

I also love meeting new people and enjoy understanding how others think, and always appreciate interesting discussions on any topic, from questions of morality to cultural trends, so feel free to talk to me about anything!


Alexander Suponya

High school student

Hello there! I’ve only been a Sigma camper for two years, but I’ve come to love this place a lot and, as an incoming JC, I will do my best to help you love it too. I am passionate about earth science, physics, and engineering, but also love engaging in linguistics and worldbuilding as a hobby. I play the piano and guitar, and if you ever need someone to sing with, I’ll do my best to find my time to help you out. I look forward to a great week of building, experimenting, problem solving and new friendships with all of you this summer!


Luigia Than

Undergraduate, Stony Brook University

Hello! I'm excited to be back for my fourth year as a counselor! I am a rising junior at Stony Brook University, studying electrical engineering with a minor in digital arts. In addition to digital art (mostly pixel art/animation), I like to read, sew, and craft (I've run workshops on origami and kumihimo, a kind of cord braid: if that sounds cool ask me to teach you!). I enjoy board games and card games and am always up for learning new ones. I'm excited to get to know all of you this summer!


Rajat Kumar

Graduate Student, Stony Brook University

I am a graduate student seeking a PhD. in Biomedical Engineering. I obtained my undergraduate degree in Instrumentation and Control Engineering in India. Thereafter, I worked in the Oil and Gas industry for about a year before coming to graduate school. I am currently working on computational modeling and experimental validation of prefrontal-limbic and reward control circuits in the human brain, in the context of psychiatric disorders and addiction. Aside from academics, I spend my time on table-tennis, piano or cooking.



Michael Zorya

Undegraduate, Rutgers New Brunswick

Hi my name is Michael Zorya, I have been with Sigma ever the since the start and I plan to return once more as a counselor. I have been admitted to Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences for a Biomathematics major. My other passions include strategy games of any type, and the occasional tv show. If you ever want to chat about any random subject, I'll be there to entertain. I can't wait to to see you all in the summer!


Polina Zavyalova

Graduate Student, University of Toronto

I am entering my second year as a PhD student working in the field of astrophotonics, or the use of photonic technologies and devices for the development of new astronomical instruments. This year will also be the second year I am a counselor at Sigma, so the two have been going hand in hand for me so far. I love learning about anything and everything and always enjoy a discussion and an engaging story. I play tennis, enjoy reading and during quarantine started learning embroidery.

Tarika Mane

Undergraduate, University of Chicago
Hi I’m Tarika and this will be my third year as a Sigma Counselor! I love math, especially anything involving geometry, number theory, or probability, and I'm now majoring in math. I particularly enjoy creating (and solving) hard math problems/puzzles too. I’m very fond of engineering and ever since I was little I loved building and creating things because I always have crazy ideas and I'd love to hear all of your ideas too! I also really like physics and will potentially major in it on top of math. At Sigma, I really enjoy playing games, whether it's a math game like set, or board games like catan, or games such as mafia! I’m looking forward to meeting all of you and hearing about your interests!


Alec Douglas

Undergraduate, Harvard College

I've been a member of SigmaCamp since 2013, both as a camper and as a counselor. I am a physics and math major but I'm also interested in history, the occasional video game, philosophy and religion. I currently do research in quantum optics where I design and implement control sequences for many body systems. I'm looking forward to meeting all of you and talking about your interests, both scientific and otherwise.

Arina Nikitina

Graduate Student, Georgia Institute of Technology

This is going to be my fifth time being a counselor at Sigma. I love this place; although sometimes I can seem moody - don't worry, it’s just my normal face. I am a graduate student at Georgia Tech’s Bioinformatics PhD program. Back in Russia I taught math to students in grades 5 - 11. Aside from my work and studies, I love music; every year at Sigma I try to find like-minded people to perform as a rock-band at the Talent Show!


Sofiya Filippova

Undergraduate, Boston University

Hello everyone! I have attended SigmaCamp as a camper for the past three years and am very excited to return to Sigma this year as a JC! My academic interests are physics, mathematics, and engineering (generally any problem solving), but I like to dabble in computer science as well. I am a competitive figure skater, and have recently taken up ballroom dancing; I also love to play the piano, read, draw landscapes, and create with my hands. I look forward to SigmaCamp every year and cannot wait to help make this an unforgettable week for all the incoming campers, as my counselors once did for me.


Nikita Khesin

High School Student

Hello! I am really excited about being a JC at sigma, even if virtually. I have been at sigma since the third year, and I love it every single year. I really enjoy mathematics and engineering, I design 3D models as a hobby. I love to play frisbee, to run, and to cycle. Given the virtual nature of Sigmacamp this year, I realize that there will be questions about how to use certain programs, I will do my best to answer all of them. I look forward to meeting new campers in addition to seeing returning campers!

Dmitry Panov

High School Student

Hello! I’ve been to Sigma 4 times as a camper, and I can’t be more excited to come back in a slightly different role. My scientific interest includes math, economics (it is my specialty in school) and biology (especially microbiology). But science is not the only thing I like, I also love debating and poetry. I am from Russia, so coming every year was not too easy, but it is totally worth it, I really do love this place and I am excited to help you same way about it.

Ivanka Tkachenko

High School Student

Hello! This will be my first year as a counselor and I am very excited! I can’t wait to meet and interact with everyone. I love math, specifically calculus, and wish I had started coding sooner because it's very cool. Other than my scientific interests, I love video games, anything artistic and like to play Dungeons and Dragons in my free time. My real passion is professional stage lighting for plays and concerts, and it is what I (used to) spend most of my time after school doing.

Tim Pinkhassik

High School Student

I've been coming to Sigma Camp since 2016, and I'm really excited for my first year as a Junior Counselor!  I'm mainly interested in synthetic organic chemistry and supramolecular chemistry.  I'm also interested in electrical engineering and physics.  I'm in my school's debate team and I run my school's chemistry club.  I love science fiction and I'm really interested in history.  I can't wait to meet everyone this year!