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  • “Make mistakes fearlessly”

  • Some of the women of Mathspace share their love and hope for the field of mathematics

    We posed a question to the Mathspace team: How can we get more women working in STEM?

    Almost everybody had an identical response: We need more female role models in the field.

    Well one thing is certain — we’ve got plenty of female role models working at Mathspace and using Mathspace too! So we decided to share the stories of some of  these incredible women with you. And what better day to share these  stories than International Women’s Day?

    Pantea Jouliany — Head of Content, Australia

    Make mistakes fearlessly.
    Pantea Jouliany

    Which single word do you most identify your pursuit of mathematics with?

    Beauty.

    What excites you about mathematics?

    How elegantly it manifests and is expressed through nature.

    What is the most satisfying moment in your math career?

    It’s  back when I was a teacher. I was with my year 9 class and I can’t  remember what I was teaching but I remember that some of the girls were  struggling with it despite trying to approach it to a few different  ways. While I was going around helping the class, one beautiful and  softly spoken girl tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Miss, I was  blind but now I see.” That moment was a real gift.

    What needs to be done to encourage more women to participate in STEM?

    Instilling  in them from a young age that they are absolutely capable and that  great things are expected of them, and making them feel safe and  encouraging them to give things a go. Make mistakes fearlessly.

    What does working at Mathspace mean for you?

    I  love being in the company of people who are giving their very best in  every moment, and who want their work to have meaning and significance.


    Elisha Templin — School Liaison, Canada

    To  fight the stigma about math, we need to have real interventions in  place to support all students, no matter their level. At Mathspace, this  is our mission, so I think I am at the right place.
    Elisha Templin

    Which single word do you most identify your pursuit of mathematics with?

    Logic

    Who inspired you to pursue mathematics?

    My  high school math teacher. His passion for the subject was contagious. I  was initially going to pursue a career in Music education, but he  showed me my true potential and how cool math really is.

    What excites you about mathematics?

    The interconnectedness of math never ceases to amaze me. I have a distinct memory of learning that eiπ = -1 and just being in absolute awe of the subject.

    The  fact that this cool number with amazing properties in differentiation,  with complex numbers, along with a number I think about being related to  circular functions all come together to make something as simple as -1  blew my mind. The question, “did we discover math or create it”  continues to keep me guessing.

    What needs to be done to encourage more women to participate in STEM?

    I  first want to acknowledge the good progress on this front in the last  10 years. I think more female role models is an important part of the  journey to eliminating the stigma of women in STEM.

    What does working at Mathspace mean for you?

    Working  at Mathspace means an opportunity to reach an unprecedented number of  students and teachers to share my love of math. To fight the stigma  about math, we need to have real interventions in place to support all  students, no matter their level. At Mathspace, this is our mission, so I  think I am at the right place.


    Amber Evenson — Director of Customer Operations, US

    We  need to help young women to believe in the power of mathematics and  that they are fully capable of harnessing that power in their  professional lives.
    Amber Evenson

    Which single word do you most identify your pursuit of mathematics with?

    Application

    What excites you about mathematics?

    The  myriad of beautiful ways a single problem can be approached. I am also  very excited about being able to backup my own personal opinions or  decisions with proof via mathematics! Who doesn’t like being right?

    What needs to be done to encourage more women to participate in STEM?

    To  encourage more women to not only participate but evangelize for STEM we  need to start with a mindset shift. We need to help young women to  believe in the power of mathematics and that they are fully capable of  harnessing that power in their professional lives.

    What does working at Mathspace mean for you?

    Working  at Mathspace means that I have the opportunity to impact hundreds,  thousands, and potentially millions of students and their success in  math. It excites me to consider the reach our organization has and the  opportunity we have to help change the math mindset around the world.


    Aleena Fatima — Grade 10 student, Melrose High School

    I  want to make a difference to the world by effective use of technology,  which can only be done by the use of mathematical techniques.
    Aleena Fatima — student using Mathspace

    What excites you about math?
    The fact that mathematical knowledge is applied to all walks of life. You can see the results yourself

    What is the most satisfying moment in your mathematical career?
    When I help my fellow students and when I’ve been rewarded for all the time that I put in the practice of mathematics.

    How does your math teacher inspire you?

    My  math teacher inspires me in many ways including the fact how he can  make complex problems look easy. He does not confine maths to the  classroom rather tells us about the world operated by maths.

    Why do you think maths is important for your future?
    I  want to make a difference to the world by effective use of technology,  which can only be done by the use of mathematical techniques.


    Áine McAuley — Executive Math teacher, Melrose High School

    STEM  Programs that specifically target young women need to be more readily  available… there needs to be more opportunities both in schools and  outside of schools, that are free (or at least affordable and accessible  to everyone!)
    Áine McAuley

    What is your favourite part about teaching math?

    I  love that my classes are always different. There are so many different  ways to explore Math, and I love the challenge of finding new and  exciting ways to engage my students and have them see just how exciting  Math really is.

    What needs to be done to encourage more women to participate in STEM?

    STEM  Programs that specifically target young women need to be more readily  available… there needs to be more opportunities both in schools and  outside of schools, that are free (or at least affordable and accessible  to everyone!) and that specifically target young women.

    How do your students inspire you?

    Just  when I think I have figured out every possible way to engage my  students and make Maths more relatable to them, they come up with  something new that makes me rethink how I teach. They keep me on my  toes, questioning me and always challenging me to make Maths exciting.  No two students think in the exact same way, and my job is to ensure  that no matter how they think or process information, they understand  Maths and it importance. They won’t all turn out to be giant nerds like I  am, but it is definitely a whole lot of fun to try and get them to see  just how cool being a Maths nerd is.


    Jayne de Silva — School Liaison, Australia

    Seeing the lightbulb moment in my students — the moment something finally clicks for them — is the best feeling in the world.
    Jayne de Silva

    Which single word do you most identify your pursuit of mathematics with?

    Challenge

    What excites you about mathematics?

    I get to solve mysteries… it is very satisfying.

    What is the most satisfying moment in your math teaching career?

    Seeing  the lightbulb moment in my students — the moment something finally  clicks for them — is the best feeling in the world. I will never forget  one lesson when I was teaching my Year 10 class how to solve  equations — something which they would have been learning since Year 7.  This one student exclaimed, “Miss! I finally get it! I never understood  what was going on last year or the year before or the year before…but it  finally makes sense now!”. She was so excited and couldn’t wipe the  smile off her face.

    What does working at Mathspace mean for you?

    I  am so lucky I get to help students all over Australia now — not just  the students in my classroom. Whether it is from them watching my video  worked solutions, sitting the practice exams I have written, or taking  part in the interactive lessons I have shown the teachers how to  present — I get to impact so many more students now and it is so  exciting.


    Tamara Heaney— School Liaison, Australia

    I love how difficult mathematics can be and how elegant it is.
    Tamara Heaney

    Which single word do you most identify your pursuit of mathematics with?

    Challenge.

    Who inspired you to pursue mathematics?

    My  Dad inspired me to pursue Mathematics. I still remember the first time  in early primary school when he cut up fruit to explain fractions to me,  those types of experiences stick with you.

    What excites you about mathematics?

    The  knowledge that I will have to work hard to get to an answer, and then  know when I get that answer right. I love the thrill of the chase. I  love how difficult mathematics can be and how elegant it is. To explain  such complex ideas in sometimes such a dignified and eloquent way makes  mathematics beautiful.

    What needs to be done to encourage more women to participate in STEM?

    Having  strong role models will help encourage more women in STEM. Having those  role models present early in life is crucial. Those role models don’t  have to be scientists or Maths teachers but people who have a genuine  interest and passion for STEM. It’s the passion that makes an impact on  people, they can feel your genuine enthusiasm and it resonates and  excites.