[UW-News-Release] UW hosts Think About Math conference to boost girls' interest in mathematics

John Morris jmorris at uwaterloo.ca
Mon Apr 27 09:57:34 EDT 2009

UW hosts Think About Math conference to boost girls' interest in mathematics

WATERLOO, Ont. (Monday, April 27, 2009) -- The University of Waterloo 
will host the inaugural Think About Math conference this week to 
boost girls' interest in mathematics and increase the number of women 
pursuing math-related careers.

Forty Grade 9 girls from high schools across Southern Ontario will 
attend the weekend conference that starts Thursday, April 30. The 
event has attracted high interest -- participants were selected from 
a pool of more than 150 applicants.

"We want to show the girls that math is fun, relevant and leads to 
lucrative and exciting careers," said Fiona Dunbar, director of the 
event. "Grade 9 is a pivotal year for girls. We hope that by engaging 
with young women we will be able to increase their confidence and 
preference for math in the early years of high school."

The conference is made possible by a generous donation from the Bill 
& Melinda Gates Foundation to UW's Centre for Education in 
Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) in 2007. UW and the foundation share 
a common goal to give young people the opportunity to develop the 
skills and knowledge they need to succeed in a world of innovation.

The conference sessions will be led by 15 professional women involved 
in math-related careers. The hands-on workshops will highlight the 
importance of mathematics in a variety of careers, including software 
development, environmental engineering and investment banking, as 
well as such day-to-day activities as personal finance and social 
networks like Facebook.

One session will give them insight into the reality of being a math 
grad by analyzing and summarizing data from a recent survey of 800 
female UW math graduates highlighting career path, salary and 
personal interests.

Organizers hope this conference will grow a grassroots community of 
girls, young women and established professional women who can share 
perspective and work together to reverse the declining number of 
women taking up math careers.

For more information or to express interest in future Think About 
Math conferences, visit http://cemc.uwaterloo.ca/events/tam.html.

About the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC)

CEMC's outreach program, the largest of its kind in Canada, offers 
outstanding enrichment opportunities in mathematics and computer 
science for young people and educators in Canada and around the 
world. Formally established in 1995, but with activity dating back to 
the early 1960s, the CEMC has produced a successful and established 
model for reaching mathematics and computer science students. During 
the last year alone, our contests, workshops and Internet resources 
have reached more than 450,000 students and about 10,000 teachers at 
about 1,500 schools, primarily throughout Canada.

- 30 -


Fiona Dunbar, director, Think About Math conference, 519-888-4567 ext. 33480

John Morris, UW media relations 519-888-4435 or mailto:jmorris at uwaterloo.ca

UW news release no. 37
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