Counselors 2018


Dr. Alex Treyer

Post Doctoral student, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

I am a PhD in cell and molecular biology, but I have been part of Sigma long before I got my degree. I am a fan of music and like to fiddle with circuits: if you need to find me, listen for weird noises and go in that direction – you’ll find my semilab. As a sports fan, I enjoy playing keeper on the faculty soccer team, where I get to deny many campers their shots at glory. No two years at Sigma have been the same, but I always head back home knowing more than I did before, having met old friends and having made new ones. I’m looking forward to repeating this pattern. Also, I think our talent show is way better than whatever you will see on TV this year.


Anar Amgalan

Graduate student, Stony Brook Univeristy

I am a student of physics seeking a PhD, who exhibits an unhealthy obsession with striking combat sports. Normally, I get interested with everything involving computations OR probabilities OR complexities OR clever approximations. But on certain occasions, all I can think of is boxing gym and taekwondo dojang. The two, clearly, need to be reconciled. In rare moments of extreme boredom, I work on pieces of codes that solve game of sudoku or jigsaw puzzles, or play flash games for me in my absence.

I am currently occupied with figuring out i) how and when new biological species emerge, ii) what machines can learn about our brain and iii) how social networks self-organize, getting all the while amazed by Muhammad Ali's footwork and Roy Jones Jr.'s reflexes. Depending on the volume of interest, I consider hailing into Sigma with my heavy bag...


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, we will breaking into a turbo-molecular vacuum pump. I also participate in teaching West Coast Swing, teach physics-related workshops, and play classical guitar.



Arina Nikitina

Graduate Student, Georgia Institute of Technology

This is going to be my fourth 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!


Andrey Lukin

Undergraduate, Georgia Institute of Technology

I have come to SimgaCamp as a student since the very beginning, and have felt how fun and interesting this camp truly is. I come up with the craziest ideas for my projects, which are rarely incorporated into their final design, but may contain slight hints of it. For example: 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. Another idea is making a train that would run back and forth without energy, in a tunnel that would be dug like a chord, running through the Earth's crust. I would love to listen to other people's amazing ideas, even if they are as unrealistic as mine. If anyone has anything they need help with, feel free to come to me, and I will try my best to assist you.


Angie Shtenger

Undergraduate, Stony Brook University

This will be my 6th year at SigmaCamp and I can't be more excited! I'm graduating a whole year early from Stony Brook University with my Bachelor's degree in Linguistics. I love languages and everything about them. Hopefully linguistics will be more incorporated into Sigma this year so you can learn to love it as much as I do! Currently I'm learning Spanish and German and trying to perfect my Russian. My goal in life is to visit more countries than the years I've been alive. So far, 21 countries in 21 years, but this summer that number will go up to 24 countries and my goal will be on its way to completion! I see that this could prove to be very difficult once I turn 40 or something...

Besides languages and travel, I am fascinated by all the sciences and learning about anything new to me in general! I also love to read (anything with words) and take lots (think thousands) of pictures with my digital, film, and polaroid cameras! I can't wait to see returners and plenty of new faces in 2018!


Natasha Zaliznyak 

Undergraduate, Yale Unversity

Like many of my fellow Sigma staff members, I love science and am always curious about how things work. I am especially fascinated by the molecular workings of the brain, so I am currently working towards a degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and doing research in a neuroscience lab. Outside of science, my hobbies include cooking, baking, and different forms of art; I love drawing and painting, as well as both digital and film photography. I also enjoy traveling and learning new languages. I'm looking forward to seeing all of you this summer — I can’t wait to both meet our newcomers and see our returning campers as Sigma comes together again this August!


Andrey Khesin

Undergraduate, University of Toronto

I have been at SigmaCamp since the very beginning. Currently, I am three years into my undergraduate studies. My degree is in math and physics and I am always open to chat about either! At SigmaCamp, you can usually find me at the Sigma Special Event, evening workshops, or the evening Mafia games. Feel free to come by! Alternatively, you might find me at the evening dance classes or facing off in chess or ping-pong. I try to find time to play guitar, so if you want to jam, let me know!

My research has been all over the place. While I am currently working on a project involving partial differential equations, I have written several papers in knot theory and spent last summer working with ATLAS and at CERN.


Alex Frenkel

Undergraduate, UC Berkeley

This will be my third year as a Sigma counselor. I just finished my second year as a physics major at UC Berkeley, and I plan to go into theoretical physics research afterwards. Currently my main area of interest is in quantum gravity, where I'm in the process of joining a research group. My other academic interests include mathematics, computer science, and history.

I'm an officer in Berkeley's tennis club, and in general I spend lots of time on tennis (as well as other racquet sports) and would be happy to talk about it any time. :)


Alec Douglas

Undergraduate, Harvard College

This will be my fifth year at sigma camp and I look forward to it once again. I am a prospective physics and math major but I also dabble in history, the occasional video game, and philosophy. I also enjoy reading and listening to audiobooks (which I heartily recommend if you’re like me and spend a lot of time going hither and thither). I’m always looking to expand my repertoire and worldview, and as such would be delighted to talk to you and learn about your interests and hobbies. I’m returning to the States right before Sigma after a year abroad in Paris where I studied the mechanisms of T Cell receptor generation and the activation of various genes in fly embryos. I look forward to meeting each of you, and the discussions we might have.


Phillip Kadaev

Undergraduate, Harvard College

I have been a part of SigmaCamp since 2012 as both a camper and as a counselor and I look forward to yet another great year. My main interests include biochemistry and astronomy. I am particularly interested in the study of exoplanets and currently research the effects of several different chemical agents on the regeneration of the recurrent laryngeal nerve. I am also an avid coin and stamp collector, who specializes in Russian and American currency and postage. I also enjoy playing an array of different sports including soccer, basketball, and ice hockey.


 Natasha Butkevich 

Undergraduate, Cornell University 

After a two-year hiatus, I am delighted to return to Sigma for my second year on the SigmaStaff, and fourth year overall. At the time of writing, I am a biology major, although I am applying to a concurrent degree program in biology and fine arts. My academic interests include microbiology (mainly bacteria, although I am fascinated by parasites and other miniscule creatures), marine science, and printmaking. I enjoy making three-dimensional, geometric structures out of paper using unnecessarily complicated processes. Recently, I’ve picked up ballroom dancing (after 12 years of ballet); I lead Latin/Rhythm and follow Standard/Smooth. I’m excited to meet everyone at SigmaCamp this year!


Zofii Kaczmarek

Research Assistant, California Institute of Technology

I’m looking forward to return for my third year as a counselor at Sigma!

I recently graduated from undergrad with a degree in physics, and now I’m studying the biophysics of genetic regulation in E. coli. My project involves using a statistical model and small number of parameters to describe gene expression across a broad range of growth conditions. That’s a packed sentence, so come find me to chat about what that all means. Whatever you think you know about physics or biology, let’s talk about why I find them both so interesting and they ways they can work together!

I teach math and physics workshops and help teach west coast swing lessons. I also enjoy playing around with a frisbee or soccer ball, making food, taking photos, and talking about how we can improve the world and challenge our assumptions.


Lev Bershadsky

Undergraduate, Harvard College 

Lev was senior at Port Jefferson High School and a member of Team Islandbots. He has attended Sigma camp as a camper 3 times and was junior counselor last year. Lev is a member of National Honor Society, and he participates in Quiz Bowl, math teams, and Science Olympiad. Other than STEM, Lev enjoys tennis, sailing, and reading. During his time at Sigma he ran a workshop that taught people how to fly quadcopters. 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.


Sophia Abanov

Undergraduate, The University of Chicago

I am a student at the University of Chicago where I hope to pursue a double major in math and physics. Another interest of mine is learning languages, and I can speak Russian, French, and a little bit of Spanish (and English of course). My favorite part of Sigma is hanging out with campers outdoors during breaks and getting to teach workshops. Last year, I did a workshop on the card game “SET” and some of the cool geometry that can be found within it. If you want to share your passion for something with fellow campers, consider signing up to run a workshop yourself!


Jacob Kudria

Hi! I am a senior in high school, though I’m not yet sure where exactly I’ll be going to college in the fall. I have been at Sigma for 5 years - 3 as a camper, and this will be my second time as a counselor. Academically, I enjoy any sort of mathematics, but I also LOVE to talk about anything biology or medicine. You might also sometimes catch me with some code on my screen, but that’s becoming rarer these days. Otherwise I'll most likely be listening to music, drawing, messing about with a camera or reading (I love recommendations!) There might also be times where I emit noise from a wooden box, also known as a viola (NOT a violin), and at times this noise can even be pleasant to the ear. Look (listen?) for it during our annual SigmaConcert! I look forward to meeting you all at Sigma 2017!


Nikita Podobedov

Undergraduate, Columbia University

I have been coming to Sigma Camp since its very beginning, and this year I am very excited to be back as a Counselor. I am interested in many diverse subjects, both scientific and not. I like biology, history, geography, and linguistics, to name a few. I am also excited about robotics. I love trivia games, so I’m on the varsity quiz bowl team at my college. I also enjoy playing racket sports, and I organized the Sigma ping pong tournament last year.


Michelle Roitgarts

Undergraduate, Tufts University

After 6 wonderful years at Sigma, I’m very excited to come back as a counselor for Sigma 2018! As a Cognitive Science major, I study the human mind and how one can understand cognitive processes through various frameworks including psychology, computer science, and linguistics. I am currently finishing my first year of university and plan to do research on memory and cognitive aging starting this September. Some of my hobbies include tennis, ballroom dance, and film-making; I’m also an avid music fan, particularly jazz, electro-swing, and occasionally classic rock. In my spare time you might find me playing on the piano or guitar. I speak Russian and English; please feel free to talk to me about anything at all :) If you are interested in participating in the annual Sigma Music Concert, let me know at I can’t wait to see all of you this summer!


Priya Srikumar

Undergraduate, Cornell University

Last year was my first year at Sigma, and I’m excited to rejoin Sigma this year as a Counselor. I enjoy all sciences, but I particularly like physics and chemistry. I’m also passionate about engineering, and am a member of my school’s robotics team. I love to bake (white chocolate macadamia nut cookies are my favorite) and I’m an avid reader of both fiction and nonfiction- come talk to me for book recommendations! I also enjoy singing with friends and engaging in combat sports such as boxing and wrestling. I speak Tamil, French, and some Korean, and I'm trying to learn Russian- I would love to practice with someone! I look forward to getting to know everyone this summer. Go Sigma!


Nestor Tkachenko

Undergraduate, Harvard College

I am someone who loves doing new things, exploring possibilities nobody has ventured through and creating what has never been thought of before. 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 engineering 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 a startup called Flow Suit that enables paraplegics to walk through electronic muscle stimulation, which I was inspired to do by my experiences with the Cyborgs semilab here at Sigma Camp.


Ian Baram

Undergraduate, University of Chicago






Luigia Than


Hi! I’m super excited to be back at Sigma as a counselor! Like everyone here, I love math and science (chemistry may be my favorite). I also love to read and watch movies & TV shows (mysteries and fantasy, mostly). In my spare time I play Magic: The Gathering, draw, and make stuff (I recently started to cross-stitch!). I play the cello and piano (you might’ve seen me playing a duet with my sister). Come talk to me if you want to rave about a favorite show, a strange “what-if,” or have a sing-a-long (I did musical theatre for a while)! Live long and prosper, and see you this summer!


Masha Zorin

Senior, High School

I have gone to Sigma Camp for the past four years as a camper, and I'm super excited to be a junior counselor this year! Sigma Camp is a place like no other (I mean, where else will you have a bunch of crazy professors gather up to teach you?), and I'm really happy that I get to keep being a part of it. I'm interested in computer science, math, and physics, and I want to be an engineer of some kind (but I'm not sure which kind). I also love to read, draw, and build things using power tools. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone at Sigma Camp!


Michael Zorya

Senior, High School

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. Recently have just been admitted to Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences for a Biomathematic’s 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!



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.



Jessica Li

 Software Engineer, Microsoft

I look forward to returning to SigmaCamp for my 3rd year as a camp counselor! In the meantime, I will be happily coding away under the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft. I enjoy the complexity and detail of working with operating systems and computer networks. On the side, I follow news from NASA and other aerospace groups. I like reading biographies, playing piano, ice skating, and listening to music.


Anastasia Zhurikhina

Graduate Student, Georgia Tech

I am a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering trying to save the world through synergetic combination of computational and experimental biology by squeezing the most out of my applied mathematics and physics BS degree. My thesis is related to cracking the problem of brain blood vessels abnormalities that lead to hemorrhagic strokes. I have some experience in teaching as I've taught physics and biomechanics for high school and college students. The process of outlining the classes, stumbling upon unexpected questions and pulling consultational all-nighters with cookies for my students feels like part of my habit now. Aside from that I am an art and sport enthusiast: painting, photographing, swimming, windsurfing, kiteboarding, rock climbing, playing tennis, badminton, stretching and etc. I am looking forward to my first year in Sigma and I have a feeling that this place would make a special place in my heart and become a long-lasting story!


(JC) Alex Cartwright

High School Senior

From learning languages to creating encryption algorithms, I find myself lost in fascination for many fields. Some of my hobbies and interests include entomology and taxonomy, guitar-playing, physics, weightlifting, computer programming, and tea-drinking. I love learning languages, being proficient in French and still studying German after a summer of language immersion, but don't expect me to know any Russian past "я люблю мороженое." However, I am most passionate about computer science, cybersecurity, and engineering, having been a member of the school's Robotics team, CyberPatriots team, and Academy of Information Technology.

For my upcoming years in college, I plan to study Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics as well as advance my language versatility. I can't wait to be back as a junior counselor after having spent three years at SigmaCamp.


(JC) Tarika Mane

High School Senior

Hi I’m Tarika and this is my first year as a counselor and I’m super excited! I love math, especially anything involving geometry or any kind of math puzzle. I particularly enjoy creating (and solving) hard math problems/puzzles too. I also like all the sciences (but chemistry is my favorite). I’m very fond of engineering and ever since I was little I loved building and creating things because I always have crazy ideas. I’m on a robotics team, where I’m mainly involved with hardware, but I sometimes write code for different projects that I do. I have not graduated high school yet but I also take math courses at Stony Brook University. I’m looking forward to meeting all of you and making more unforgettable memories at Sigma this year!


(JC) Iris Brook

High School Senior

I have been a camper at Sigma for the past four years and this year I am so excited to be a JC! Every year Sigma is one of my favorite parts of the summer and I can't wait to help make it an unforgettable week for every camper this year. I am interested in math, engineering, and computer science. I also love to draw, read, and dance. I can't wait to see you all this summer!


(JC) Nikolai Styrkas

High School Senior

Hello everyone! I am very excited to be part of the staff this year after all my years at Sigma as a camper. Throughout high school I have developed many interests in chemistry, 3D design, architecture, and mathematics. I enjoy coding so far as to attending local competitions. I enjoy a multitude of hobbies including, tennis, piano, swimming, ballroom dancing and quite a few others that I am just trying out. I hope that I will be as great of a counselor as the ones that I had during my years as a camper, and I am eager to see what Sigma will bring to the table this year.


(JC) Timo Stroschein

High School Senior

When I went to Sigma Camp for the first time I immediately fell in love with this place. It is truly amazing to see how many (long-time) friendships can develop while children get the chance to pursue their curiosity for science.

Throughout an exchange year in Costa Rica and my school in Germany I had the chance to develop a scientific interest, as well as a cultural one. My focus lies in mathematics and physics. Besides that I enjoy doing sports like gymnastics and I would love to teach you the benefits of walking on your hands rather than on your feet. I am looking very forward to spend this summer with you!



(JC) Boris Nekrasov

High School Senior

I've been a camper at Sigma for 5 years, and I cannot wait to continue my time here, if not as a camper, then as a junior counselor. I love computer science and I'm passionate about history (particularly the high medieval period). I'm a chess and ping pong enthusiast, and I'm an avid Othello player. I've always loved being part of Sigma camp, and I hope to be able to make this experience as enjoyable for you, as it was for me.