Giving Math New Life For Young Women

One of the key elements of careers in STEM is the last letter…M is for Math.

From the beginning, math has been a staple in our education – remember the three Rs? Reading, “riting” and “Rithmatics?”

Danica McKellar, from the hit sitcom The Wonder Years and more recently from Dancing with the Stars, finished her acting career as a young teen and entered UCLA to study math. Talk about a right brain, left brain switch in focus.

Recently she was a guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and her energy and passion around a topic that often stumps the best of us was refreshing.

Paraphrasing, now, but she likened math to a skill that leads to career success but also the ability to be a stronger more confident woman; making logical and thoughtful decisions. “Math empowers girls in all areas of life.”

Making math accessible and enjoyable has been a long time passion and has led to the writing of several popular and critically acclaimed books on the subject. Her most recent book Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail is a perfect way for young women to embrace math.

From the Amazon description we learn: It’s Danica McKellar’s mission to be this role model, and demonstrate on a large scale that math doesn’t suck. In this fun and accessible guide, McKellar—dubbed a “math superstar” by The New York Times—gives girls and their parents the tools they need to master the math concepts that confuse middle-schoolers most, including fractions, percentages, pre-algebra, and more

Her bio on the Dancing with the Stars website shines even more light on Danica’s passion for helping girls develop a love of math from an early age:

Danica McKellar, best known as Winnie Cooper on “The Wonder Years” and Elsie Snuffin on “The West Wing,” is a New York Times bestselling author with her groundbreaking books, Math Doesn’t Suck, Kiss My Math, Hot X: Algebra Exposed and Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape.

A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA, McKellar wrote a theorem that has been dubbed, “The Chayes-McKellar-Winn Theorem,” and was published in Britain’s esteemed Journal of Physics. Upon the release of Math Doesn’t Suck, Danica was celebrated as “Person of the Week” on The World News with Charles Gibson for her advocacy of girls’ math education and being a positive role model for young girls.

It is so inspiring to see someone known worldwide in the entertainment world, use their public platform to make math more accessible to young girls so that they might seek out a career in the math and science arena. Bravo, Danica!

Enjoy Danica’s interview with Jimmy Fallon: