Faculty

AlphaStar Academy mainly considers teaching, competition, and education background as well as passion and dedication for the subject when hiring full-time and part-time teachers.
We hire our instructors and TAs from a pool of High School, College, Ph.D. students, school teachers, and University Professors. Our faculty have teaching/coaching/tutoring experience and have expertise in the subject area, regardless of their age.
They have participation and/or training experience in national/international math competitions and Olympiads in Math, CS, and Physics such as USAMO, USACO, USAPhO, IMO, IOI, and IPhO.
They are role models and inspiration for students with their backgrounds and achievements.

Full Time Faculty

Ali Gurel, Ph.D.

  • AlphaStar Co-founder and Math Director (since 2017)
  • Ph.D., Mathematics, Caltech (2008)
  • International Mathematical Olympiad (1996: Silver Medal)
  • American Mathematics Competitions Advisory Panel Member (2008-2012)
  • USA Math Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP) Instructor (2007-2012)
  • Scott Russell Johnson Prize for Excellence in Graduate Teaching, Caltech (2007)

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Fatih Gelgi, Ph.D.

  • AlphaStar Co-founder and Computer Science Director (since 2017)
  • Ph.D, Computer Science, Arizona State University (2007)
  • International Olympiad in Informatics (1999: Bronze Medal)
  • USA Computing Olympiad Coach (2006-2014)
  • Olympiad in Informatics Turkish National Team Coach (1999-2003)
  • Balkan Olympiad in Informatics (1998, 1999)

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Mehmet Kaysi

  • AlphaStar Co-founder and Math Program Director (since 2017)
  • American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) Problem Writing Committee (2011-2014)
  • Junior Balkan Mathematical Olympiad – USA Team Leader (2013)
  • Balkan Mathematical Olympiad – Academic Assistant (2012)
  • International Mathematical Olympiad (2004)
  • Balkan Mathematical Olympiad – Silver Medal (2004)

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Muhyeddin Ercan, M.S.

  • AlphaStar Computer Science Instructor (2018-present)
  • MS in Computer Science in UCA (2012)
  • Computer Science Teacher (2012-present)
  • Won 3rd Place in USA Microsoft Imagine Cup Software Design Competition

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Sal Tiryaki, M.S.

  • AlphaStar Computer Science Instructor (2018-present)
  • M.Ed., Leadership in Education, American College of Education (2016)
  • Computer Science / Robotics teacher (2010-present)
  • Many regional, state, interstate, and international awards in Robotics such as 2014 Tri-State (Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada) and Mexico Championship, 2017 First Global Zhang Heng Silver Engineering Design
  • Worked as an engineer, project leader, and tecnical manager in industry (2003-2010)
  • B.S. in Electrical Engineering (2002)

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Part Time and Former Faculty

Joseph Hurmali

  • Students he taught received 4 Gold, 9 Silver, 9 Bronze medals in International Math Olympiads
  • Teacher of the teachers: Taught Dr. Gurel, Dr. Gelgi, and Mr. Kaysi in their high school years
  • Administrator at Public Schools (10 Years Experience)
  • Math Teacher / Olympiad Coordinator (10 Years Experience)
  • MS, Computer Science (1999)
  • BS, Mathematics Education (1991)

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Victor Hakim

  • AlphStar Physics Program Director (2018-2020)
  • AlphaStar Physics/Math Full Time Instructor (2017-2020)
  • B.A., Applied Math – Quantum Mechanics focus, University of California, Berkeley (2017)
  • M.S., Mechanical Engr. – Controls & Dynamics, Santa Clara University (Current)
  • USAPhO Honorable Mention (2013)
  • Berkeley Math Tournament Problem Writing Coordinator (2016)
  • MathCounts Coach (Del Mar Elementary)

Sukru Tikves, Ph.D.

  • Software Engineer at Google
  • Ph.D., Computer Science, Arizona State University (2016)
  • A-Star CS Instructor at year-round courses (2015-2017)
  • International Olympiad in Informatics (1997 Silver, 1998 Silver, 1999 Silver)
  • Balkan Olympiad in Informatics (1997 Bronze, 1998 Bronze, 1999 Bronze)

Sinan Kanbir, Ph.D.

  • AlphaStar Instructor (2017 & 2018: Summer Camp)
  • Assistant Professor, Mathematics, University of Wisconsin
  • Ph.D., Mathematics Education, Illinois State University (2016)
  • Teaching Impact Award, Illinois State University (2015)
  • Item writer for Central Wisconsin Math League (CWML) and MathCON
  • Coached students for AMC 8, 10, 12, TMO, and IMO for more than 10 years

John Sinkovic, Ph.D.

  • A* Math Instructor (2017: Summer Camp, Winter Camp)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Combinatorics and Optimization, University of Waterloo (2015–Current)
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Math and Statistics, Georgia State University (2013–2015)
  • Ph.D., Mathematics, Brigham Young University (2013)
  • Ph.D. Student, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, The Netherlands (2007–2009)

Zarathustra (Zeb) Brady, Ph.D.

  • A* Math Instructor (2015: Summer Camp; 2016: Summer Camp)
  • Ph.D., Mathematics, Stanford University (2017)
  • BA, Caltech (2012)
  • USA Math Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP) instructor (2008, 2010)
  • ACM International Collegiate Programming ContestWorld Finals (2008)
  • International Mathematical Olympiad (2006: Gold)

Eric Xu

  • A* Math Instructor (2014: Summer Camp; 2015: Summer Camp)
  • A* CS Instructor (2015 – Present)
  • Stanford Class of 2019
  • ACM-ICPC World Finals 14th Place
  • ACM-ICPC Pacific Northwest Regional (2016: 3rd Place Team)
  • USACO Platinum Observer (2015-present)
  • Stanford ProCo (2nd place)
  • Facebook Hacker Cup (2017: Top 200)
  • Google Code Jam (2016, 2017: Round 2 Qualifier)
  • USAMO Qualifier (2013-2015)
  • USAJMO Qualifier (2011-2012)
  • ARML (2014: 5th Place Team)
  • CHMMC (2014: 2nd Place Team)

William Luo

  • A* Alumni
  • A* Computer Science Instructor (2017-present)
  • MIT Class of 2022
  • USACO Finalist (2017)
  • USACO Platinum Contestant (2016 – present)
  • USAPhO Silver Medalist (2017)
  • Who Wants To Be A Mathematician National Finalist (2017)
  • AMC 12 Distinguished Honor Roll (2017)
  • USAMTS Silver Medalist (2016)
  • AMC 10 Distinguished Honor Roll (2016)
  • AIME qualifier (2016, 2017)

Spencer Compton

  • MIT Class of 2022
  • International Olympiad in Informatics USA Team Member (2018)
  • USACO Finalist (2017,2018)
  • USACO Platinum Contestant (2016-present)
  • Stetson U. Programming Contest (2016, 2017: 1st Place)
  • U. of Central Florida Programming Tournament (2016, 2017: 1st Place)
  • U. of Florida Programming Contest (2016, 2017: 1st Place)

Amanda Du

  • A* Alumni
  • A* Computer Science Instructor (2016)
  • Northeastern U. Class of 2021
  • USACO Finalist (2016)
  • USACO Platinum Contestant (2015-2017)
  • Computer Science and Math Tutor at the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula (2016-2017)

Tyler Zhu

  • A* Alumni
  • A* Computer Science Instructor (2017 – present)
  • UC Berkeley Class of 2022
  • USACO Platinum Contestant (2017 – present)
  • CHMMC 5th place (2016)
  • USAMO Qualifier (2017)
  • AIME Qualifier (2014-2017)

Alex Gu

  • A* Computer Science Summer Camp – TA (2016)
  • MIT Class of 2022
  • USACO Finalist (2016)
  • USACO Platinum Contestant (2015 – present)
  • USAJMO Qualifier (2015-2017)
  • USAPhO, Honorable Mention (2017)
  • Science Bowl National Qualifier (2016)

Michael Chen

  • A* Alumni
  • Canyon Crest Academy Class of 2019
  • USACO Platinum (2017 – present)
  • San Diego Math Circle (Lead Instructor: 2017-present, TA: 2014-2017)
  • Canyon Crest Academy Programming Team Captain (2015 – present)
  • ACSL 1st Place Individual (2017)
  • ACSL All-Star 4th place team (2017)
  • Internet and mobile app developer (2016 – present)

Chris Xiong

  • A* Alumni
  • UC Berkeley Class of 2022
  • USACO Platinum Contestant (2016 – present)
  • USAJMO Qualifier (2016)

 Lucas Xia

  • A* Alumni
  • UCLA Class of 2022
  • USACO Platinum Contestant (2017 – present)
  • USAMO Qualifier (2017)
  • USAPhO National Semifinalist (2016, 2017)

 Bennett Liu

  • AlphaStar Instructor (Since 2018)
  • UT Austin Class of 2024 (Turing Scholars Program)
  • USACO Platinum Contestant (2016-2020)
  • Harker Programming Club Lead Problem Writer (Since 2018)
  • AIME Qualifier (2019, 2020)

Kevin Liu

  • A* Computer Science Summer Camp – TA (2016)
  • MIT Class of 2022
  • USACO Finalist (2016)
  • USACO Platinum (2015-present)
  • USAJMO qualifier (2016)
  • AIME qualifier (2014-2018)

Avichal Goel

  • AlphaStar Instructor (since 2016)
  • MIT Class of 2022
  • USACO Finalist (2016)
  • USACO Platinum Contestant (2015-2018)
  • AlphaStar Alumni
  • AIME Qualifier (2015-2018)
  • Stanford ProCo (2016: 3rd place, 2018: 1st Place)
  • Harker Programming Invitational (2016: 1st Place, 2017: 1st Place)
  • HP CodeWars (2016: 1st Place)

Riya Arora

  • A* CS Instructor (2017 – present)
  • James Logan High School Class of 2019
  • USACO Finalist (2017, 2018)
  • Zero Robotics International Space Station Finals (2016)
  • FIRST Robotics Challenge World Championships (2016-2018)
  • Codeforces Division 1 (2017-present)
  • Guy Emanuele FIRST Lego League Robotics Mentor (2015-2017)
  • NCWIT Aspirations in Computing (2017, 2018 National: Honorable Mention, 2017 San Francisco Bay Area Competition: Winner)

Adam Zheng

  • Canyon Crest Academy Class of 2019
  • USACO Finalist 2017-2018
  • USACO Platinum 2016-present
  • USAJMO Qualifier 2017
  • USAMO Qualifier 2018

Richard Spence

  • AlphaStar/A-Star Instructor (since 2012)
  • Ph.D. Program, Computer Science, U. of Arizona
  • Double Major in Math and Computer Science, MIT (2016)
  • USAMO qualifier (2010)
  • AlphaStar/A-Star Alumni
  • MathCounts National qualifier 2007, 2008
  • National “Who Wants to be a Mathematician” qualifier (2011-2012)
  • Perfect score on AMC 10 (2009)
  • National Scrabble Championship – Div. 2 (2011: Winner)

Yalcin Udun, M.Ed.

  • AlphaStar Instructor (since 2017)
  • Ph.D. Program, Mathematics Education at U. of Arizona
  • MS.E. in Gifted and Talented Education at ASU
  • Raytheon Math Hero Award (2015)
  • Arizona Mathcounts Team Coach (2012)

Hope Chen

  • BS MIT (2019)
  • MIT Global Teaching Labs Instructor in Israel (2017)
  • MIT DynaMIT Science Camp Mentor (2017-2018)
  • Beautiful Patterns/ Patrones Hermosos Computer Science Instructor in Mexico (2019)
  • Teaching Assistant for graduate level quantitative physiology class at MIT (2019)
  • MIT Mathroots Camp Counselor (2019)
  • Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan (2019-2020)
  • Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine Class of 2023

Andrew Lin

  • MIT Class of 2022
  • A-Star Instructor since 2016
  • Miller MathCounts Coach since 2014
  • MOSP qualifier (2016), USAJMO winner (2016)
  • USACO Platinum Contestant (2017)
  • Perfect AIME (2017), Perfect AMC 10 (2016 A, B)

Harry Wang

  • A* Math Instructor (2015: Summer Camp; 2017: Summer Camp)
  • USAMO Qualifier (2015-2017)
  • USAJMO Qualifier (2014)
  • MATHCOUNTS National Competition (2014: 1st Place Team)
  • Caltech-Harvey Mudd Math Competition (2016: 5th Place Individual)
  • USA Physics Team Member (2017)
  • USACO Platinum Qualification (2016)

Andrew Cai

  • AlphaStar Instructor (since 2018)
  • UC Berkeley Class of 2022
  • Caltech Harvey Mudd Math Contest 6th place (2017)
  • USAJMO qualifier (2016)
  • 5 times AIME qualifier
  • USAPhO Honorable Mention (2017)

Michelle Shen

  • Park Tudor and Sycamore School MathCounts Coach since 2014
  • Regeneron STS Scholar (2018)
  • Siemens Semifinalist (2017)
  • Math Prize for Girls Olympiad (2017: Bronze)
  • ARML (2017: 15th place individual)
  • PUMaC (2016: 6th place in combinatorics)
  • HMMT (2017: 3rd place in combinatorics, 28th place individual)
  • USAJMO Qualifier (2015-2016)
  • MOSP Qualifier (2015)

Stanley Wang

  • A* Math Instructor (2017: Winter Camp)
  • Miller MathCounts coach since 2015
  • Lynbrook High School Class of 2019
  • USACO Platinum Contestant (2016-present)
  • MOP qualifier (2017)
  • 2-time USAMO qualifier (2016-2017)
  • AMC 10A perfect score (2017)
  • 2015 National Mathcounts qualifier

Caleb Ji

  • AlphaStar/A-Star Instructor (since 2015)
  • International Math Olympiad (2014: Bronze)
  • MOP qualifier
  • Asia Pacific Math Olympiad (2014 Honorable Mention)
  • Canadian Math Olympiad (2014: 3rd place)
  • USAJMO (2013: Honorable Mention)
  • USACO gold
  • MathCounts State (2012: Winner)
  • PUMaC (2014: 1st Place Number Theory)

Tristan Shin

  • A* Math Instructor (2017: Summer Camp)
  • MOP Qualifier (2016)
  • USAMO Qualifier (2016-2018), AIME Qualifier (2014-2018)
  • AMC 12 Perfect Score (2018), AMC 8 Perfect Score (2014)
  • California State MathCounts 1st place team (2014)
  • Online Math Open Problem Writer, CCA Math Bonanza Head Problem Writer, Head Proctor
  • Individual Placement at ASMT, BMT, CHMMC, HMMT
  • USACO Gold

Stan Zhang

  • MOP (2016, 2017)
  • USAMO HM (2016) , TST (2017)
  • USACO Finalist (2017)
  • AMC12 perfect score (2018)
  • 1st place team (HMMT2018, SMT2018, BMT2017, CHMMC2016, ARML2016)
  • Mathcounts CA state (1st place countdown, 2nd place written 2015)
  • Fremont High School Math Club President (2017- present)

Victor Chu

  • Class of 2022, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • USAMO Qualifier (2016-2017)
  • USAJMO Qualifier (2015)
  • Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament November Theme Round 3rd Place (2017)
  • Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS), Boston University Attendee (2016)
  • A* Math USA(J)MO Class Attendee (2015)

Austin Lei

  • A* Math Instructor (2017: Winter Camp)
  • Miller MathCounts Coach (since 2015)
  • Lynbrook High School Class of 2019
  • USAMO Qualifier (2018), USAJMO Qualifier (2015-2016)
  • AIME Qualifier (2014-2018)
  • Individual top tens at ASMT, BMT, SMT, BAMO

Abby Berry

  • AlphaStar Instructor (since 2018)
  • B.S. in Applied Mathematics from William and Mary (2019)
  • Operations Research Analyst in industry (2019 – present)
  • Private math tutor (2016 – present)
  • Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education Study Abroad Program (2017)

Jennifer Zhu

  • Harvard Class of 2022
  • Young Ivy Math Instructor
  • Grown up in AMC and MathCounts

Vincent Huang

  • A* Math Instructor (2018 Summer Camp)
  • Plano West Senior High School Class of 2019
  • USA International Mathematical Olympiad Team (2017: Silver)
  • USAMO Honorable Mention (2017)
  • USACO Platinum Division
  • MOP Qualifier (2015, 2016, 2017)
  • SIEMENS Competition Semifinalist (2017)

Stanley Zhang

  • UCSD ECE ’21
  • UCSD ACM ICPC Team (2017-18)
  • USACO Gold
  • AIME Qualifier (2015-17)

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