Hello, my name is Rachana Madhukara, and I am currently a freshman at MIT studying mathematics. Originally from San Diego, I organized a festival there for three years—the first ever in San Diego. I learned about the festival through friends in the Bay Area and then thought that San Diego ought to have such a wonderful event as well. This is because I wanted to encourage creative thinking and diving deep into a particular topic, something which I found that the competition math culture did not encourage.
For me personally, JRMF has had a huge effect on my relationship with mathematics. While I had known for a long time that I wanted to pursue a career in mathematics, I hadn’t known exactly what I wanted to do. Should I go into industry? Go into academia? I had no idea. However, through teaching at Festivals for the past three years, I discovered my passion for teaching. Additionally, the unique way JRMF teaches kids to approach math problems was applicable to my own research in analytic number theory, and, therefore, I was able to push forward in my research as well. The combination of these aspects that I gained from JRMF allowed me to realize that a career as a mathematics professor would be amazing!