WPI to Host Mathematics Day for Middle and High School Girls

Media Contact
November 20, 2009

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For the first time, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will hold the Sonja Kovalevsky Mathematics Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009. It is a free, one-day program of workshops, talks, and problem-solving competitions for Worcester-area students and their teachers.  Approximately 120 local middle and high school-aged girls will participate.

Organized by WPI Associate Professor Irina Mitrea, Mathematics Day is designed to encourage girls to continue their study of mathematics and help them with the sometimes difficult transition between middle school and high school math, and between high school and college math.

"The sessions have been carefully designed to be fun and engaging to the girls, and to show them that a subject that is too often regarded as difficult and not appropriate for girls, can be exciting, beautiful, elegant, and useful," said Mitrea. "We hope that in the long term, this type of activity will contribute toward eliminating existing gender inequities in mathematics and STEM disciplines."

Mathematics Day complements the university's successful Girls and Math program that Mitrea launched last summer. It is sponsored by the Association for Women in Mathematics, Elizabeth City State University, the National Security Agency, and WPI’s Department of Mathematical Sciences.  The event is named after Sonja Kovalevsky, who was the first major Russian female mathematician. She was responsible for important and original contributions to analysis, differential equations, and mechanics. Kovalevsky was also the first woman to earn a PhD in mathematics, and to be appointed to a full professorship in northern Europe.

 "At the end of the day we hope the participants will leave WPI with a different, improved view of mathematics, and with the knowledge that WPI is a place that supports their interest in this subject," Mitrea noted.

The event will be held in Stratton Hall, rooms 202, 308, and 309.

Read more about WPI's Sonja Kovalevsky Mathematics Day.