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Math Options Program = Career Exploration

Jaci Gordon and Alex Finley, examine project 7th grade girls assembled using drinking straws
Math Options volunteers from Penn State DuBois, from left, Jaci Gordon and Alex Finley, examine an engineering themed project that a group of seventh grade girls assembled using drinking straws.
5/10/2012 —

Nearly 200 seventh grade girls from around the region were introduced to careers that require skills in mathematics and science during the Math Options Program at Penn State DuBois on May 8.  

 

Math Options is an annual program that is designed teach young girls how to apply mathematics and science skills to a variety of real-world situations.  The goal of the program is to keep these youngsters interested in mathematics by showing them the opportunities and satisfaction that they can realize through its use.  The program is aimed at the specific seventh grade female demographic for a reason.

 

"Seventh grade is a critical age when girls start to lose interest in math," said Senior Instructor in Education Pamela Hufnagel.  "Programs like this have been proven to help hold that interest.  Strong evidence exists that women are often limited in career options due to early decisions not to study math and science. "

 

The girls experienced the various ways that mathematics is applied to different fields by participating in workshops held throughout the campus during the day-long program.  The workshops focused on fields including healthcare, geography, geology, marketing, and more.  Hufnagel said, "Our sessions are led by professional women in nontraditional careers who demonstrate real-world perspectives of math, science, and engineering. We're trying to expose the girls to interesting career options.  There are many things that people do for a living that children of this age just aren't aware of." 

 

"I think it's a great experience and opportunity for the students," said Jackie Mills, a seventh grade math teacher in the Philipsburg-Osceola school district who accompanied her students to the campus.  "They get a feel for the campus and college, but also get a better look at the math and science that they'll use in the future." 

Participating in the program were students from schools in Brockway, Brookville, Clarion, DuBois, Johnsonburg, Kane, Philipsburg-Osceola, Punxsutawney, Redbank Valley, and St. Marys.

 

Penn State DuBois students also assisted in the instruction and supervision of youth in the program. 

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