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Math Keeps Opportunity in the Equation

5/13/2010 —

DuBois – Seventh-grade girls from 15 area school districts recently visited Penn State DuBois for the annual Math Options program, where they learned to apply mathematics to a variety of real-world situations.


The goal of the program is to keep young women interested in mathematics by showing them the opportunities and satisfaction that they can realize through its use.  Students participated in workshops on diverse topics such as volcanoes, forest management, soil science, and optometry.   One exercise had them analyzing forensic evidence, and another applied mathematics to fitness activities.  Penn State DuBois faculty and staff members, as well as volunteers from the community served as instructors for the lessons.  The instructors were women who work in a variety of professions that deal with mathematics on a regular basis.  "We try to get them interested in the careers so they realize that if they stick with math, it could lead to an interesting and rewarding career," said Senior Instructor in Education, Dr. Pamela Hufnagel.  "These are often careers the kids might not know about." 


The program is aimed at this specific demographic for a reason. "Seventh grade is a critical age when girls start to lose interest in Math," Hufnagel said.  "Programs like this have been proven to help hold that interest."


The effectiveness of the program has led to a growing interest among school administrators in the area.  This year, 195 seventh grade girls from 15 schools participated in the program. 

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