Counselors 2023

Ethan Abelev

High school student

Hi! I'm returning as a JC after 4 years as a camper! In terms of science, I especially love anything related to molecular biology, chemistry, and physics, and I'll be studying biomedical engineering at JHU in the fall. I do FTC robotics and history/quiz bowl, and I'm always eager to talk about my research on curcumin derivatives that inhibit cancer metastasis. Outside of science, I love chess, drawing, and have been playing piano (badly) for over a decade. I'm excited to see you all at Sigma!

Gleb Aminov

Graduate student at Stony Brook University

This is going to be my second year at SigmaCamp as a counselor and I'm excited to join this wonderful community! I'm studying theoretical physics at YITP in Stony Brook. My research interests include mathematical physics, black-hole perturbation theory, and phenomenological string theory. I practice a very hands-on approach and like to use programming as a way to tackle some hard mathematical problems. In my spare time, I like to stay active (strength training, BJJ) and sometimes cook. I did play different musical instruments in the past, including cello and drums (hopefully I will do it again in the future).

Boris Barron

Graduate Student, Cornell University

Hello everyone! I'm Boris and this will be my second time at Sigma. I tend to have very broad interests (biophysics, mechanical engineering, laser physics, evolution, etc.) and currently work on modelling racial segregation, basketball, and high-entropy alloys. I would say my interests can be summarized in that I am interested in the 'best' way to solve a problem. I have lived in 4 countries (Israel, Canada, England, USA) and have competed at a note-worthy level in ballroom dancing while dabbling in running, taekwondo, ballet, swimming, and dragon boat. Happy to talk, discuss, or argue about anything!

David Bershadsky

Undergraduate at Princeton University

Hello! I am exited to com back for another great year of Sigma!. I am studying Electrical and Computer Engineering at Princeton University. Outside of my major I take interest in Material Science and Biology. Apart from STEM, I play the violin, like to enjoy bad movies and building janky contraptions. I can't wait to see everyone at the next Sigma Camp.

Lev Bershadsky

Graduate Student, NYU

Lev goes to NYU and was a member of the Harvard Undergraduate Aeronautics club. He has attended Sigma camp as a camper 3 times and was counselor before. Lev was a member of his high school's competitive roblox team, and he participated in Quiz Bowl, math teams, and Science Olympiad. Other than STEM, Lev enjoys tennis, sailing, and environmental advocacy. 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.

Anna Bloch

High School Student

Hi everyone! I am excited to come to Sigma as a Junior Counselor after 5 years of being a camper. My main interests are math and physics, but I also enjoy learning about architecture and data science. In my free time, you can find me watching movies (Best in Show is top tier) or playing the piano. Looking forward to meeting you all this summer!

Matvey Borodin

High School Student

Hi everyone! This will be my sixth year at Sigma and I am stoked to be back for another year. My main academic interest is research in math (mostly algebra). I love anything pure math related so if you ever feel an intense urge to either a) have your mind blown by something you never knew you cared about or b) blow my mind with something you find incredibly awesome, seek me out! That doesn't only apply to math by the way, I'm totally here to nerd off about any cool STEM topic with discussions about absurd hypothetical scenarios encouraged. Other than math, I also possess some expertise in computer science, chemistry, tennis, and violin in no particular order. I love traveling, hiking, board games and overly long fantasy novels.

Iris Brook

Undergraduate at Tulane University

Hello! I am Iris and I am a current senior at Tulane University in New Orleans. I am majoring in business management and computer science as well as minoring in math. I am really interested in business analytics and in the business side of the tech industry, specifically how we can make product development and production more efficient. I am highly involved in STEM tutoring for girls and how to better encourage more women to pursue their STEM careers. Outside of academics, I love music, dance, art, and baking. I am excited to help make this week unforgettable for all of you!

Joel Brook

Undergraduate at Northeastern University

Hey! I attended Sigma as a camper for 5 years before returning as a counselor. This will mark my second year as a counselor. I'm interested in math, and engineering and I am planning on studying computer science at Northeastern University this upcoming fall. Outside of school, I am a captain on my school's fencing team, I play various video and card games, and have recently picked up chess. I can't wait to see you all at Sigma this summer!

Katya Donetski

Undergraduate at Cornell University

Hi—thanks for reading my bio! I’ve come to Sigma for 8 years now: 5 as a camper and 3 (and counting) as a counselor! Having been on both sides, I can confidently say that although Sigma is only one week of your summer, it’s definitely the best one. There’s nothing quite like it. I am pursuing a Biomedical Engineering degree at Cornell University, with a concentration in either drug delivery, imaging, or biomechanics. In previous years, I’ve taught a workshop on Brain-Computer Interfaces, where we explore the brain via a computational lens and even demonstrate a form of “mind control.” There’s so much we don’t know about the human brain, and therefore so much to learn! Aside from that, I enjoy piano, skiing (recently picked up snowboarding), and *learning* electric guitar. I can’t wait to meet all of you at Sigma 2023!

Anat Dubinsky

Undergraduate at University of Washington

Hello! This fall, I will be starting at the University of Washington in Seattle for a degree in chemical engineering. So far, the most engrossing part of chemistry to me has been my obsession with scientifically perfecting my morning iced coffee recipe; I'm also captivated by math, classical guitar, ski, my dog (pictured), film, stress-baking chocolate chip cookies, and Taylor Swift. I'm eager to see you all this summer!

Deniz Erdag

Undergraduate at Princeton University

Hello! I'm so excited to start working as a counselor for Sigma Camp this summer! I'm studying Physics with an applied math certificate at Princeton and so far have worked on DMRadio (building a dark matter direct detection experiment) and am now looking to get more theoretical experience. I love talking about physics but I also enjoy reading, music (piano/flute), dance (ballet/ballroom/contemp), and archery! Feel free to come talk to me about anything!

Sofiya Filippova

Undergraduate at Boston University

Hello everyone! I am an undergraduate at Boston University studying mechanical engineering with a concentration in energy technologies and sustainability. I am passionate about developing clean technology and currently work on several projects doing just that! Outside of academics, I love to rock climb, ski, and generally spend time outdoors. I am also a big reader and love making and viewing art. But that’s enough about me, I want to learn about your passions! Find me at camp to talk to about anything and everything. I am so excited to return to Sigma for another summer and help make this an unforgettable week for all the incoming campers, as my counselors once did for me!

Melissa Guidry

Graduate Student, Stanford University

My scientific research is on quantum photonics. I engineer optical circuits to study the quantum mechanics of light. One device that I often engineer is a “microring”, a micron-scale ring-shaped optical cavity: once light enters the ring, it can travel around thousands of times before it exits, going around in tight circles with a circumference close to that of a human hair. This intense optical confinement enables interesting physics: for example, we can convert one color of light to many other colors, often entangling the new colors of light in the process. Some researchers are trying to use this phenomenon to build chip-scale quantum computers. Outside of the lab, I like to read. My favorite books I’ve read recently were The Red and the Black (Stendhal) and The Portrait of a Lady (Henry James).

Juan Gerardo Gutierrez Bravo

Marine Biologist

I was born in Veracruz, Mexico. I learned to scuba dive when I was 16 and decided to study marine biology in La Paz, Baja California. My research is focused on zooplankton, particularly fish larvae, in low oxygen environments. I am currently studying a master's degree at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Zofii Kaczmarek

Project Manager at Beyond Meat

My background is in physics and biophysics, but now I work as a project manager at Beyond Meat. I work closely with food scientists and research scientists, as well as teams outside of the R&D department, to make sure new projects are on track and meeting key targets. I develop processes to improve communication and make frequent and important tasks easier and more fool-proof. I think of myself as someone on a curling team — smoothing the ice in front of the stone, and calling out when course-corrections are needed. On the dance floor, I also practice improving communication and coordination processes. I enjoy blues, fusion, west coast swing, tango, and contra dancing. I also run a monthly contra dance, and I’m president of a local dance cooperative.

This will be my 8th year with Sigma, and whether I’ve met you before or we’re meeting for the first time, I’m looking forward to seeing you!

Andrey Boris Khesin

Graduate Student, MIT

I have been at SigmaCamp since the very beginning. I am working on my PhD in Math at MIT. I am always open to chat about math, physics, or computer science! I greatly enjoy board games, puzzles, square dancing, and contra. I try to find time to play guitar, so if you want to jam together, let me know! My research is in quantum computing and quantum information theory. I am investigating how to efficiently present quantum error correcting codes in an understandable manner.

Nikita Korobkov

Software Engineer at Audible

Hi there! I'm Nikita, a software engineer at Audible.

In my day job, I work on bringing audiobooks to people through voice assistants like Alexa. With recent advances in AI, it is incredibly exciting to be a part of the transformation of our day-to-day life from the inside.

I have a degree in Computer Science and Maths from Saint-Petersburg University, where I specialised in game theory and language processing. I'm also a skilled juggler and slackliner, and I love to share my knowledge and skills with others.

Jacob Kudria

Graduate Student at Stony Brook University

Helo! I am currently getting a master's degree in Neurobiology and Behavior, working in a lab that studies how neurons talk to each other at a synaptic level in the brain. That said, my passion is for translational medical research, so ultimately I hope to go to medical school. Outside of academics, I volunteer as an EMT in my community, love to ski, and can most often be found hiding away with a good book. At SigmaCamp I do a variety of things, from taking photos of everyone to helping with the chamber concert. By far though, my favorite part is meeting all the campers, greeting old and new faces alike. I look forward to seeing you all soon!

Boyan Litchev

High School Student

Hello! As a camper, I've been to Sigma for 5 years, and I'm excited to come to my 6th year at Sigma as a JC! Academically, I'm mainly interested in cryptography, and I also spend a lot of time doing non-geometrical math. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, biking, reading, and sharing my love of math with everyone around me. I look forwards to meeting everyone this summer and finding even more people with which to share my interests!

Daniil Lukin

Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University

My PhD work was 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 -- I'm continuing along the same lines now as postdoc. When I go to Sigma, I like to bring with me various tech contraptions so we can take them apart. I don't know yet what we will breaking into this year. Together with Melissa Guidry, I teach the Optics semilab. This year, we will be using light to do measurements and computations, in particular, image processing using Fourier transforms.

Ivan Lvovsky

High School Student

Hi! After attending Sigma as a camper for five years, I am excited to return as a junior counselor. It is mostly thanks to Sigma that I enjoy and am interested in STEM, particularly math and chemistry. Aside from that, I am also very interested in mixed martial arts and have been training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for six years. I have also played the cello for seven years and the bass guitar for three. I am most thankful for Sigma for all the friendships that I have made over the years, so I am excited to reunite with old friends and meet new ones!

Andrew Mata

Graduate Student, Stony Brook University

I have been a camper or counselor at Sigma Camp since its inaugural year and hopefully for years to come. Throughout the years I've attended Sigma, I have graduated high school, attended Cornell for my undergraduate degree and started a PhD at Stony Brook University in the Computer Science department. I work with robotics or programming semi-labs and set up sports and events like Chessball. I look forward to meeting you all and don't hesitate to come talk with me about any of your scientific or sporting interests.

Tim Pinkhassik

Undergraduate at University of California, Berkeley

Tim Pinkhassik is originally from Newton, MA. He is pursuing a B.S. in Chemistry. Tim works on synthesizing copper—oxalamide precatalyst complexes to catalyze the Goldberg reaction. Beyond his research, Tim enjoys organic synthesis for fun and profit, film photography, learning languages, and playing piano and balalaika.

Iana Podobedov

Undergraduate at Columbia University

Hi everyone! My name is Iana, and I’ve been with Sigma since the very beginning — first as a junior camper, then as a camper for six years, and now as a counselor. My main academic interests lie within mechanical engineering and computer science, especially within robotics. In my free time, I enjoy embroidering and sewing, thrifting, taking very long walks, and listening to any music (I'd love to hear any recommendations!) I can't wait to meet you all this summer!

Nikita Podobedov

Graduate Student, MIT

I've been coming to Sigma since the beginning, and I'm really excited to be here for another year. I’m a grad student at MIT studying biological engineering. Outside of STEM, I'm interested in history, mineral water, and linguistics. I also really enjoy playing racket sports, my favorite being Wii Sports tennis, and I'm looking forward to organizing the ping pong tournament at Sigma again. I’m also looking forward to another season of swimming - I’m a big Silver Lake enthusiast. Can’t wait to see everyone this summer!

Sanjana Rao

Researcher at University of Chicago

Hi! I majored in Biological Sciences with a specialization in Endocrinology at the University of Chicago, and I work at the Sweis Lab studying immune evasion in bladder cancers. I've recently become interested in chronobiology, and outside the lab, have been writing a play about Dementia. I also love fashion design, and I've been trying to teach myself how to crochet! I'm so excited to see you all soon!

Daniel Salkinder

Undergraduate, Harvard

Hello! I am a college freshman intending to study Pure Math and Physics (in that order), but also love to learn new things in linguistics, chemistry, and computer science and debate psychology, philosophy, and technology. I have been at Sigma forever, and around camp can be found helping with the board games, running original escape rooms, or poorly playing the saxophone in the chamber concert. I cannot wait to be a counselor again and meet everyone at Sigma 2023!

Stasya Selizhuk

High School Student

Hello! I’ve been a camper at Sigma for three years and am excited to return this year as a Junior Counselor! My main interests are biology and engineering, but I also enjoy psychology, linguistics, and logic puzzles. In my free time I enjoy art, fencing, and unicycling. I can’t wait to meet everyone this summer!

Mark Shapiro

Undergraduate at NYU

Hi! I’m so excited to return for my seventh year at Sigma and second year as a counselor! Next year I will begin as an undergraduate studying violin performance and math. My research is in geometry, but I love to discuss everything STEM, humanities, and music! Outside of academics, I enjoy puzzles, reading (especially philosophy), and playing guitar and theremin (somewhat poorly). I can’t wait to see everyone!

Valentin Skoutnev

Postdoc at Columbia University

I obtained my PhD in 2022 in plasma physics and now I spend my “work” days as postdoc thinking about astrophysical fluid dynamics of planets, stars and compact objects, though I am broadly fascinated by emergent phenomenon. I love that finding out the governing equations is only the beginning. Back on our home planet, I enjoy hiking, improv comedy, and playing soccer under reasonable gravitational and thermodynamic conditions. This is my first time at Sigma and I am very excited to meet everyone!

Maya Smith


I am excited to attend my fifth year at Sigma. I will be starting my first year at McGill University in Montreal in the fall. I love physics and math, and my favorite part of math is whatever I happen to have last learned. Apart from STEM, I love to debate and am a regular participant in my school's theater productions. The languages I know best are English, Russian, Python, and Spanish, in that order. I am looking forward to meeting all of you at SigmaCamp and learning new things!

Maximilian Strey

Undergraduate at Cooper Union

Hello! I have been at Sigma Camp since 2014 as a camper. I just finished my second year of college at Cooper Union in New York. I am majoring in electrical engineering with a minor in computer science. My passions include physics, robotics, and history. I love outdoor sports such as soccer, tennis, and hiking, but I also love ping-pong and rock climbing. I am very excited to be a part of the camp this year and am eager to meet you all!

Sophie Strey

High School Student

Hi everyone, I've been at Sigma since 2014 so that would be *approximately* 9 years! With regard to academics, I'm interested in discrete math and cosmology but in my free time I love to learn about architecture, philosophy, and espionage. Besides for that, I enjoy writing science fiction stories, carpentry, and astrophotography. I have an adverse reaction to psychology and am an enthusiastically mediocre hair cutter (my family can attest to that). I'm excited to be coming back as a junior counselor and look forward to meeting you all this summer!

Nikolai Styrkas

Undergraduate at Rutgers University

Hello everyone! I am graduating from Rutgers University with a major in Chemical Engineering and Computer Science. My interests within these fields are energy and chemical process simulation. During my time at Rutgers I was involved in many chemical research programs and engineering clubs that travelled across the country to compete. I wouldn't be whole if it wasn't for the many hobbies that I do besides stem, two of which I hope to share at Sigma: Working on Cars and Ballroom Dancing. I can't wait to see you all and experience the best week of the year together!

Alexander Suponya

Undergraduate at Rutgers University

Hi everyone! I am a rising senior studying biomedical engineering and computer science at Rutgers. This year, alongside my studies, I am doing a co-op in viral gene therapy research and a summer internship in molecular dynamics and machine learning. I'm a huge fan of all things linguistics — an often overlooked scientific field! I play piano and guitar and hope to learn some songs on the bayan (a type of accordion) before Sigma. I also enjoy rock climbing. If you want to sing any songs together at camp, let me know so I can learn it while you're busy enjoying Sigma. I can't wait to meet all of you!

Ivanka Tkachenko

Undergraduate at University of Toronto

Hello everyone! I am Ivanka, a 3rd year at University of Toronto, and have been going to Sigma since almost as long as its existed. I am interested in math, (especially graph theory), and anything that has an engine in it. In my free time you can find me working on my car, playing Magic the Gathering/ Dungeons and Dragons, or relaxing with a book. I can't wait to meet everyone and to hear all about you guys!

Nestor Tkachenko

CEO of Rito

Hello, I'm Nestor and I'm very excited to return to as a counselor! My primary work is as a professional ChatGPT impersonator, but on the side I'm a founder of a food robotics startup called Rito. I also love philosophy, iced lattes, and hot takes.

I am personally very interested in physics, technology, and entrepreneurship. I do everything from building burrito-making robots and creating levitating vehicles, to shocking people to make them dance.

I 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!

Michelle Wu

Graduate student, Stanford University

I am a Stanford Physics Ph.D. Student. My research is related to quantum engineering with cold atoms. In particular, I am working on building a new experimental platform that traps arrays of single Rydberg atom inside a millimeter (mm)-wave cavity. With the local dipolar interaction of Rydberg atoms and the all-to-all interaction generated by photons in the cavity, we will be able to simulate novel strongly-correlated states in condensed matter physics and implement non-local gates for error correction. Besides Physics, I also enjoy art. In my free time, I enjoy oil and watercolor painting.

This will be my first year attending Sigma. I am excited to join Sigma community and get to know the campers and staff.

Anatoly Zavyalov

Undergraduate, University of Toronto

I’m studying mathematics, computer science and physics at the University of Toronto, and I've been at SigmaCamp since 2022. I’ve done research in theoretical computer science and astronomy, and I am absolutely in love with automata theory, combinatorics, and discrete math. Outside of academics, I’ve been playing piano for more than a decade, and I get a huge kick out of solving programming problems. I’m also really into game development; I’ve been making games as a hobby for years now. Come talk to me about literally anything, I’m really looking forward to seeing all of you at Sigma this year!

Polya Zavyalova

Graduate student, University of Toronto

Hi! I am a PhD student at the University of Toronto in the department of electrical and computer engineering and I've been at Sigma since 2019. My research lies in the field of laser fabrication of sensing devices in optical fibers for astronomical applications. I am also interested in biology and chemistry and I am looking forward to discussing everyone’s science-related (and otherwise!) interests and ideas. Outside academics, I enjoy reading, yoga, bouldering, baking, and embroidery.

Misha Zorya

Graduate From Rutgers University

My Name is Misha Zorya, I have recently graduated Rutgers University with a Dual Major in Actuarial Science and Mathematics. I have been attending Sigma since the beginning and I am excited to attend this year aswell. In my spare time I enjoy creating and maintaining terrariums and aquariums, playing card/board games/video games, and also assisting in the development of a video game. I look forward to seeing all of you in the summer!