CSM Women + Math Events Help Girls Flex Their Science, Math Muscles

College of Southern Maryland Assistant Professor of Mathematics Stephanie McCaslin wants all young girls to reach for their dreams whatever they may be—and not to let concerns over doing well in math get in the way. To that end, McCaslin, and fellow CSM professors Sandra Poinsett, Barbara Peck and Holli Chichester create and support Women + Math events and awards throughout the year.

“We formed a committee of female professors at CSM to address what we saw as apathy toward math from female students,” said McCaslin. “Either the young ladies didn’t think that math was important in careers or they were disproportionally concerned at doing well in math as compared with the male students. We want to encourage women of all ages to pursue careers fields of mathematics, physics and engineering.”

This winter, CSM presented an award at the Charles County Science Fair designated for a female student who presented a project incorporating a predominance of mathematical ideas and logic.  

            Natalie Griffin, a junior at North Point High School, received the Women + Math Award for her project, “The Effect of Combining Circle and Sine,” for her creative approach to the concept of combining functions. “By combining an algebraic function and a trigometric function, she noticed new relationships,” said McCaslin. “It will be interesting to see how Natalie can expand on this project in the future, by trying other operations and functions. Natalie is a great example of a female student exploring the potential of mathematics.”

This year’s Women + Math essay contest to increase awareness of contemporary women’s contributions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) was held in the spring.

For this year’s contest, in the senior division, 11th-grader Frances Lu, of Wilmington, N.C., received first place, and $250, for her essay on University of North Carolina Wilmington Mathematics and Statistics Department Professor Dr. Kelli Slaten; and Lackey High School 11th-grader Hailey Allen, of Bryans Road, received second place, and $100, for her essay on Kimberly Williams of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

In the junior division, Friendly High School ninth-grader Kiana M. Jones, of Fort Washington, received first place, and $250, for her essay on Ingrid Guch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Matthew Henson Middle School eighth-grader Stephanie McCarter-Dadzie, of Bryans Road, received second place, and $100, for her essay on Matthew Henson Middle School mathematics teacher Heather McKeown; and Southern Maryland Christian Academy (SMCA) ninth-grader Emily Latimer, of Waldorf, received third place, and $50, for her essay on SMCA math and science instructor Donna Watson. To view the winning essays, visit http://www.csmd.edu/News/MediaResources/11WIM.html.

This year’s Women + Math workshop Oct. 15 at the La Plata Campus will feature an all-female panel of professional women whose career fields draw heavily on math. The workshop is open to girls ages 13 to 21 and includes hands-on activities in architecture, health and science, finance and economics, and technology.

For information on CSM’s science, technology, engineering and math programs, and Women + Math events, visit http://www.csmd.edu/istem/.