STEM Profile: Alicia Li

Ryan Qin and Felix Cao

Lexington High School senior Alicia Li will graduate this year having demonstrated a strong passion and aptitude for math through her coursework and extracurricular activities at LHS.

Li has been involved in math since elementary school, when she first started attending competitions. 

“Something I really like about math is, to me, it’s very beautiful, in a sense that it’s just so elegant, and when you see a good proof, it’s so satisfying, especially when you solve a very challenging problem. It’s the best feeling in the entire world,” Li said.

During Li’s time at LHS, she actively attended math competitions, including the American Mathematics Competition (AMC) 10 and 12, one of the biggest math competitions in the United States with more than 300,000 yearly participants.

“I qualified for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) five times, and then I qualified for the Math Prize for Girls three times,” Li said.

Not only has Li been an active participant in competitions, but she has also engaged in research related to math. She attended MIT Prime Step and MIT Prime Circle, where she is currently researching reinforcement learning.

“I was a part of MIT Prime Step for two years, in eighth and ninth grade. MIT Prime Step is a program for math research. I’ve also been involved with MIT Prime Circle which is a reading group, so I studied the theory of computation then,” Li says.

Additionally, Li has attended Math Team for several years. Li considers the welcoming and inclusive community a second home, where she can pursue math alongside similarly dedicated, passionate classmates.

“Math team is almost like my second family. They’re just such a great group of people. We’re all very supportive of each other. It’s really great there,” Li said.

For students looking to get more involved in math, Li advises them to have a genuine interest in it and pursue it for their own interests. 

“Definitely be involved in the math team because it is such a great community with a lot of brilliant and also supportive people. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re bad at math. Don’t compare yourself to others, because it’s not really productive, and make sure you’re doing math because you like it, not because your parents are telling you to,” Li said.