# “Make mistakes fearlessly”

We asked some of the women of Mathspace to share their hopes for fellow women in the field of mathematics.

## Andie Hoyt

Math is an itch that I just can’t seem to scratch!

To understand mathematics is to understand the universe. Patterns exist out there on their own and they are just waiting to be discovered!

Who inspired you to pursue mathematics?

My parents. Growing up, they would show me ways that math was both important and beautiful.  Like, my mom would always point out the advantages for women who understand mathematics.  She was a strong female role model for me.  And my dad would always ask me questions to ponder math puzzles, like “Does an odd plus and odd always make an even?”  That was a question I remember thinking about in early elementary school and wondering how I could explain the answer.

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

We need to build a culture where young people - both men and women -  are encouraged to explore their passions, whatever those may be.  Our youth need safe opportunities to try new things, test the boundaries a bit, and figure out what works and what doesn’t.  It should be the collective mission of all educators - parents, teachers, school administrators, government officials, social media stars (yep!) - to provide these kinds of opportunities.

What is the biggest accomplishment in your math career?

I’m hopeful that it’s still on the horizon.

## Elisha Templin

I have a distinct memory of learning that eiπ = -1 and just being in absolute awe of the subject.

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.

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.

## Ronnel Jeppsen

We need to encourage women to have the courage and the grit to pursue their passions. Step up, do things that are hard, be BRAVE.

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

Bravery

Who inspired you to pursue mathematics?

My Geometry professor at University, Dr. Janet Woodland. When I registered for this class, I knew I was going to struggle and I did, but I loved every minute of it. She had this amazing ability to make things make sense. She took the time to answer all the questions, redraw the diagrams and find ways to help us see the why. As a teacher, I always tried to model her teaching style.

I love that you can find mathematics at the root of everything. I especially love finding it in the beauty of nature.

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

We need to encourage women to have the courage and the grit to pursue their passions. Step up, do things that are hard, be BRAVE.

It is funny, I have never considered myself to be good at math. I always struggled to understand the deeper meaning. Once I became a Math teacher, I realized a lot of my students had the same issue. My biggest accomplishment was being able to empathise and find ways to help build their self-confidence and to encourage them to take risks in solving problems without the fear of failure.

What does working at Mathspace mean for you?

The Mathspace mission of being the right help for the right student at the right time, was basically the mission I strove for in my classroom as well. Each year of teaching, I was able to try to be that person for 112 students. Working at Mathspace gives me the opportunity to be a part of a team that has the capacity to reach so many more than I ever could alone.

## Tamara Heaney

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

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.

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.