Math!!! What's the big deal? "On behalf of Change the Equation, Ogilvy PR conducted a survey to gauge Americans’ attitudes toward their math skills.
Three in ten Americans (29%) report that they are not good at math.
- Women are significantly more likely than men to say that they are not good at math (37% vs. 21%).
- Younger Americans are the most likely to believe that they are not good at math (18-24 years old, 39%; 25-34 years old, 36%).
Further, over a third of Americans (36%) admit that there have been many times that they’ve found themselves saying they can’t do math.
- Women are significantly more likely than men to agree with this statement (43% vs. 29%).
- Younger Americans are the most likely to report that there have been many times that they’ve found themselves saying they can’t do math (18-24 years old, 53%; 25-34 years old, 53%)."
Okay, okay! Enough with the statistics!!! Girlz B Sweet interviewed a successful female mathematician who, despite the odds, found success in the perceived difficult subject.
Melinda Curtis is Math teacher at Beaumont High School, located in Beaumont, CA and has been teaching math for almost a decade. Originally from Riverside, CA and currently residing there, as well, Melinda has made a successful career from having such a strong background in math. The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. Her mother is a retired math teacher.
Through hard work and dedication, at a young age, Melinda's parents led by example and told her to always have a plan and to make sure that she was setting up that plan and executing it, but most importantly, not to give up. This is what helped her conquer the myth that math is hard. In the interview, Melinda emphasized that her parents always reiterated that even if it takes you a little bit longer to execute that plan, always have a Plan B. "I was in AVID [Advancement Via Individual Determination program], but I knew I was going to go to college, and I knew that I was going to graduate. When I first started college, I was a liberal studies major, and I ended up switching to Math. #1: I always loved different types of math and #2: It gave me a waiver that exempted me from a particular test to become a credentialed teacher. My classes were a substitute to the test."
Her family made such a positive impact in her life that spending time with them is what she enjoys most. "We travel and go on vacations together – immediate and extended."
Girlz B Sweet asked Melinda who inspired her to achieve when she were a girl. "My family, more specifically my mom because my mom was a math teacher. I saw first hand the different stuff she was doing. She was an all-around person. She would take care of us, taking us to different activities. I saw how she interacted with my dad. She took care of everyone. My dad would give me pointers. He would always say, 'finish what you started and don’t give up.'"
Melinda continues to draw on that inspiration from her children. "Before I had my kids, I felt that I did it for myself, and I also wanted my parents to be proud of me. Now, I want my kids to see me as a strong woman being successful while being an integral part in their lives. I still rely on my parents’ help, and I am still thankful and blessed that they can see me being successful, knowing that I can take care of myself and my family."
Her community connection is made using her gift of math. "When I was younger, I was involved in the church more, but now I am connected through my community through teaching. I’m not only teaching mathematics, but I’m also teaching my students to be better citizens in their community. For instance, one of my students’ came up to me and wanted to start a hiking club. I knew it would be hard for me to commit, but I said yes. Through that, I’m teaching that student to be a leader and start something that’s not there - starting something themselves for their community."
Her message to young girls now is, "Just like me, you have to have a plan and dream big. Don’t dream small, dream big. Don’t let anybody, whether your family or close friend, tell you that you can’t do it. If you have a vision in your head, find a way to make that vision come true."
Melinda's final thought for us is "always put God first in your life and anything is possible through Him."
Consider a career in math. It can open up a lot of doors and the opportunities will be endless.