Former Math Teacher Appointed to Prestigious Friends of IHES Board of Trustees
Former SYA math faculty Keith Hilles-Pilant FR'95 ES'02 JP'11 IT'12-13F ES'16F

School Year Abroad (SYA) is pleased to announce that former SYA math teacher Keith Hilles-Pilant has been appointed to the board of Friends of IHES, a non-profit organization that supports the prestigious Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES), an international research institute in mathematics and theoretical physics located in Bures-sur-Yvette, just outside Paris. IHES is the French counterpart organization to the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton.

Hilles-Pilant, along with his wife Carolyn, have taught at more SYA campuses than any other faculty member. He began his career with SYA in 1994 at SYA France and has taught at our campuses in Spain (2001-2002 and 2015-2016), Japan (2010-2011) and Italy (2011-2013). He was positioned to teach again at SYA France this past year, until the pandemic hit.

“As a math teacher, I know first-hand the skill and knowledge that Keith possesses and how fortunate so many SYA students have been to have him as their was to have him as their mentor and instructor,” said SYA President Tom Hassan. “Whether young mathematicians eager to engage in conversations surrounding complex theories or students who needed a bit more encouragement to tackle new concepts, Keith is an educator who lives the SYA mission.  He encourages students and staff alike to think outside the box and to push ourselves beyond our comfort zones. While his SYA career this academic year didn’t come full circle because of the shutdown due to the pandemic, ending in Rennes where it began, this nine-year appointment with Friends of IHES gives Keith and Carolyn the chance to visit Paris, and Rennes, again.”

Hilles-Pilant, emeritus director of Math for America-Boston, was appointed to Harvard University’s History of Science in 2016 after retiring from a distinguished career as a mathematician which included work in both government and the private sector, and 35 years as a classroom teacher of mathematics. In addition to SYA, Keith’s career associations include Los Alamos Scientific Lab, NASA, IBM Research, SUNY, Princeton, University of Illinois, Hotchkiss School, Milton Academy, Clay Mathematics Institute (founding the CMI Junior Research Fellows program for high school students), Columbia University (Klingenstein Fellow), University of Saint Andrews (University Fellow). He also participated in PROMYS for Teachers in 2009, 2010 and 2014.

Upon his appointment, the Friends of IHES asked Keith to share how he first heard about IHES in his early years as a mathematician and how the mission of the Institute resonates with his own values. Read the article here.

SYA Logo

A key priority of The Campaign for SYA was curricular innovation. One component of SYA’s curriculum that has been developed and implemented in recent years — fieldwork — helps SYA take advantage of our unique locations to create a quality intercultural, place-based, and experiential educational environment abroad. 

School trips

These are the moments that make the SYA experience so magical. When the lessons students have learned in the classroom are brought to life before their eyes. When the student becomes the teacher, introducing people, places and concepts using the knowledge they have gained. When students debate a relevant issue, learning how to engage in perspective taking and critical thinking.

SYA Logo

Giving to the SYA Fund supports SYA’s operational budget each and every year and helps to provide immediate use funds to deliver the SYA experience we know and love. Through The Campaign for SYA, over $7 million dollars were raised for the SYA Fund. We are grateful to these donors for creating a strong foundation of support for our students and educators.