Math girls rock

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Katelyn Bello | Staff Writer | [email protected]

Phot credit: Brooke Morrill | Photo Director | @brookemorrill


Two UVU math professors have created a program to help get high school girls interested in studying math.

Violeta Vasilevska and Carolyn Hamilton have created Math Girls Rock, a program dedicated to getting girls into math. Vasilevska originally started the program at the University of South Dakota and ran it three years there. When Vasilevska moved to UVU she wanted to bring the program with her.

Math Girls Rock has been funded by the MAA (Mathematical Association of America) Tensor Grant Program for Women and Mathematics from 2011-2014, and they were able to receive the UVU University Project Grant from 2012-2013.

The program is run by Vasilevska and Hamilton, to help get undergraduate students involved, they hire three undergraduate students at the beginning of each fall semester to work with the program for the full academic year. For the first five weeks of the program Vasilevska, Hamilton and the undergraduate students work on creating a project that is both hands-on and applicable. During the sixth and seventh week of the program they go to Provo and Orem High Schools and meet with high school students to work on the project.

The program is designed so both the undergraduate and high school students learn something new.

“It is mentoring on two levels, the undergraduate students are mentored by us, and then they mentor the high school students,” Vasilevska said.

They want both groups to promote the importance of education and increase the self-confidence of the girls in their ability to do math.

“We want to break the stigma that girls are bad at math,” said Vasilevska.

The high school girls are really able to connect with the undergraduate students. Each semester Math Girls Rocks is usually able to visit the schools twice with a different project. During the whole academic school year, the program usually averages 40 to 50 girls at both high schools and it is continually growing. These hands on projects have included working with origami, making bead bracelets and learning card tricks. The math is always discovery based and applicable. They want the girls to be involved in what they are doing and not just sit and watch.

Vasilevska and Hamilton survey each time and they always receive very positive feedback from the girls.

“The feedback tells us that is successful and is working,” said Vasilevska.

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