The Berkeley Math Circle

BMC Elementary

BMCelem9Editted.jpgThe United Math Circles Foundation is an official umbrella organization for the Berkeley Math Circle.  The United Math Circles Foundation is a non-profit organization.

We had the exciting idea to launch a new math circle group for kids of elementary school age in the fall of 2009. The target age of this group was grades 1-3. The main objective of this group was to develop a positive attitude towards mathematics by introducing young children to the elements of mathematical culture.

BMCelem10Editted.jpgThe program received a warm response from the students and their parents. BMC Elementary program is now in its fourth year. The number of the participants has grown, and now there are two levels:

  • BMC Elementary I, grades 1 and 2
  • BMC Elementary II, grades 3 and 4

The meetings are full of hands-on activities, games, and short problems, which will hopefully establish the positive image of mathematics in the minds of the participants.




BMC Elementary is only for students who will be in grades 1 - 4 in the Fall 2019. If your child is in grade 5 and higher, please apply to BMC Upper.

BMC Elementary is offered at two levels: Level I (grades 1 & 2) and Level II (grades 3 & 4)


Dates for Fall 2019

September 3, 10, 17, 24; October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; November 5, 12, 19, 26; December 3.

Schedule for Fall 2019

In the Fall 2019, classes will be offered on Tuesdays at 5 pm, 6 pm, and 7 pm. Classes will be held on the UC Berkeley campus.

Tuition for Fall 2019

Tuition for Fall 2019 will be $200 per semester. Financial aid is available.



Dates for Spring 2020

January 14, 21, 28; February 4, 11, 18, 25; March 3, 10, 17; April 7, 14, 21, 28; May 5.


Schedule for Spring 2020

In the Spring 2020, classes will be offered on Tuesdays at 5 pm, 6 pm, and 7 pm. Classes will be held on the UC Berkeley campus.

Tuition for Spring 2020

Tuition for Spring 2020 will be $200 per semester. Financial aid is available.


If you wish to be put on the BMC Elementary waiting list:

We put potential students on our waiting list all year round (no deadline).

Enrollment to BMC Elementary is based on merit and available space. Incomplete applications will NOT be considered.

If a student has been accepted for the Fall 2019 or Spring 2020 semester, we will notify you via email. We will request all the additional required documents at that time.


All continuing students will receive instructions regarding the application procedure and the forms in the email.

Please check our website periodically for updates.


BMC Elementary Director- Laura Givental

Laura Givental
BMC Elementary Director

A local resident of the East Bay, Laura Givental joined Natalia Rozhkovskaya to teach the BMC Elementary in the Fall semester of 2009. After graduating from a math and physics high school, Laura obtained her B.A. and Masters Degrees in applied mathematics at the Moscow school of "Kerosinka". She has been working, first in Russia and then in the US, as a software engineer and consultant. Her son Emile, currently a fifth-grader, first visited BMC in 1998 prenatally, and now feels ready to attend the middle school chapter of it on his own. Educating Emile has been challenging and rewarding for Laura, and she brought this unique expertise to BMC Elementary.

Ilya Zakharevich

Ilya Zakharevich

Ilya Zakharevich teaches on and off from 1981. He received his PhD in mathematics 1990 in Moscow. He moved to US in 1990 and to Berkeley in 2001. His research interests in mathematics are integrable systems and analysis.

Peter Koroteev


Peter Koroteev earned his BS and MS at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology where he studied theoretical physics and mathematics. Peter came to the United States for his Ph.D. studies at the University of Minnesota, which he completed in 2012. He was also a postdoctoral fellow at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, ON, Canada. Presently, Peter is a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley and does research in mathematical physics and string theory. Prof. Koroteev has been working in the educational system through his entire career — from teaching at math summer school in Russia to his experience as a teaching assistant in grad school to, finally, his present work as a lecturer.

Former Instructors

Dave Auckly

Dave Auckly

Dave Auckly earned his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan and then held a postdoctorial position at UT Austin followed by an NSF postdoc at UC Berkeley. He then moved to Kansas State University before taking the Associate Director position at MSRI. His research interests cover a broad range of geometry/topology and overlap with PDE, mathematical physics and algebraic geometry. He lights up like the Vegas strip when he talks about mathematics. Dave has directed around 30 undergraduate and graduate level research projects and he has been recognized with several teaching awards. In addition to mathematics, Dave enjoys being silly with his wife and two little children. He also enjoys any time that he can spend in the mountains.

Elena Blanter

Elena Blanter

Elena Blanter, a Berkeley resident, received her M.A. in Mathematics from the St. Petersburg University in Russia and has teaching credentials from the same school. Elena's many years of experience span mathematical risk modeling, statistical analysis, and development of financial analytical software. In addition, Elena privately teaches mathematics to elementary school children and Math Magic after school enrichment program in Berkeley and Orinda schools. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to bring her experience and passions to the BMC Elementary. 

Elena Pavlovskaia

Elena Pavlovskaia

Elena Pavlovskaia studied at Moscow Math Circle and later she taught other kids there. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics in Moscow and since then she has been developing Geometry Modeling software. Elena loves Mathematics and wants to share her excitement with BMC students.

Ira Kloumova

Ira Kloumova

Ira Kloumova was born in Moscow, Russia. She graduated from Moscow Mathematics High School # 2, and then from Moscow State University, Department of Mathematics (Division of Functional Analysis, MS in Mathematics). For 17 years, Ira worked as a senior scientific editor in "Kvant", the journal for high school students gifted in Mathematics and Physics. After moving to the USA, Ira obtained a teaching credential from UC Davis, and then she worked at Sacramento City College (Department of Mathematics, professor) for 19 years. Ira has two daughters; both are math professors. Ira joined BMC Elementary team in Fall 2015.

Natalia Rozhkovskaya

Natalia Rozhkovskaya

Natalia Rozhkovskaya is Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Kansas State University - Manhattan. Her primary research interests are representation theory of Lie groups, Lie algebras and quantum groups. In her hometown she had organized a small math circle for first-grade students, who enjoyed this experience a lot. In fall 2009 Natalia participated in the program in Tropical Geometry at MSRI. While visiting Berkeley for few months, she offered her experience and enthusiasm to create a chapter of math circle for little ones.

Sergei Ovchinnikov

Sergei Ovchinnikov

Sergei Ovchinnikov is a Professor of Mathematics at San Francisco State University. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Moscow University in 1971. After having held various research and teaching positions in the former Soviet Union, Sergei immigrated to the United States in 1980. He was a Research Associate at the Computer Science Department, UC Berkeley, from June 1980 until September 1981 when he joined the Mathematics Department of SFSU. Sergei has been pursuing research in functional analysis and mathematical social sciences since 1966. His current research interests are in the area of applied discrete mathematics.

Vera Serganova

Vera Serganova

Vera Serganova is a Professor of Mathematics at UC Berkeley. She got her PhD in Russia from St. Petersburg University in 1988. Vera moved to US in 1990 and to Berkeley in 1992. Her research interests are in representation theory and algebraic geometry. Vera teaches high and middle school students at Berkeley Math Circle from 1998.