Learn More About Math Star: Dean Brasen


Photo from Getty Images

If you have been checking with your Knightly Updates every week, then you should know Deangelo Brasen, or Dean. Not only has he been featured in the Knightly Updates the past year over five times for winning multiple math competitions, Dean recently earned the second place medal in the Integration Bee at the Berkeley Math Competition. Dean, who has been excelling at math and science for quite a long time now, not only takes a very high-leveled math class as a sophomore, but also has been taking a handful of AP classes. I was able to interview Dean and learn more about him within the academic world and outside of it.

Q: Tell me how the Berkeley Math Competition was like. What was the competition process like? 

A: The competition was two days long. It consisted of an individual round and a team round as well as additional activities each day. For the individual round, there are two possible subjects out of four to choose to take: geometry, algebra, discrete, and calculus. Based on those scores, your place is determined. The activities consisted of either an estimating game or the integration bee, which I participated in. In the bee, you have to solve integrals as fast as possible before anyone else to win.

Q: How do you usually prepare for a math competition? 

A: Usually, there are math club meetings to practice math problems or review certain topics. Out of class, I typically just review formulas before the competitions so I can better prepare myself for it.

Q: What was your favorite memory at the competition?

A: I guess one of my favorite memories was when I figured out I got second place in the integration bee as it was exciting to know that I managed to do very well in the competition.

Q: What was the biggest challenge that you faced at the competition? How were you able to overcome it?

A: I suppose the biggest challenge is solving the problems themselves, specifically regarding calculus. Both the calculus focus test that I took and the integration bee, I had to make sure that I remembered all the theorems and tricks in calculus. But as each test progressed, I got used to the questions and my focus on the concepts got better as it progressed.

Q: What do you think your biggest academic achievement is?  

A: So far, my competitions probably haven’t been my best academic achievement. Since there are so many, I simply couldn’t pick just one. But the project I am most proud of in academics so far was developing my own formula for a mathematical concept related to polygons using a proof since that was something that took a long time to figure out and something that no one else thought of before.

Q: What is one thing most people don’t know about you outside of academics and school?  

A: Usually, for the most part outside of school, if I don’t have homework, I typically just lay back and watch some TV show or YouTube so I can relax before I start doing anything else.

Q: How do you deal with nerves or anxiety before a competition?

A: If I ever get nervous before a competition, I try not to overthink it. After about 5-10 minutes into the competitions, I typically begin to focus better and lose my nerves as I get absorbed into the math problems presented.

Q: Are there any cool academic experiences that you have done before that you would like your fellow classmates to know about?  

A: Sometimes for competitions, I have to travel to other places usually no more than one hour away from school, but those experiences were very interesting and usually very fun. I highly recommend joining a club that goes to various places throughout the year for competitions.

Q: Who is your favorite teacher and why?  

A: There are quite a few teachers I’ve liked in the past, and I probably will have more favorites in the future. Currently Mr. Lindstrom is my favorite teacher because the AP CSP class I was in was so much fun. We got to talk a lot about so many things I didn’t know about before, and he was always there to help no matter what.

Thank you so much, Dean, for sharing your cool experiences with me! Go Knights!