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Stories about...Association of Women in Mathematics (AWM)

During Sonia Math Day, a participant writes down data as they participate in the Local Girls Make Strides In Mathematics During AWM’s Sonia Math Day

December 3, 2018

On Saturday, November 10, 2018, during Sonia Math Day, a number of math grad students from the Association of Women in Mathematics (AWM) put into practice the “Say what you know” idea, taken from the life philosophy of Sonya Kovalevsky. The annual event celebrates the life of Kovalesvsky, the greatest female mathematician prior to the twentieth century, and her impact—that women can succeed in and contribute to the field of mathematics. Benefitting from the AWM women’s wisdom (and that of some male students who support women in math), were five local girls who did some unique, math-related activities probably quite different from what they normally are exposed to in school. Plus, they not only met other local girls also interested in math, but networked with some role models during the event, women who are currently on a trajectory to careers in math.


A particpant during the string art workshopMiddle School Girls Experience Math’s Role in Art During GEMS Workshops

March 27, 2018

What do origami, tessellation, and string art have to do with math? Hoping to find out, a number of local 6th–9th graders participated in the GEMS (Girls Engaged in Math and Science) Workshops which ran for four Saturdays in a row (February 10th through March 3rd). Held in Altgeld Hall in the heart of the Illinois campus (and the Pottery Place in Champaign), GEMS allowed a group of girls to experience first-hand some of the ways math can play a role in art. And besides teaching participants that math is more than rote memorization and repetition, the goal of GEMS was to show the girls that math is all around them, to help them meet other local students interested in math, and to expose them to female mathematicians who might serve as role models.


Melinda LaniusLots of Local Kids (and Parents) Have Fun with Math at Math Carnival: Gathering for Gardner

February 3, 2017

Hundreds of local adults and children converged on Altgeld Hall on Saturday, January 28th for Math Carnival: Gathering for Gardner. As they participated in the numerous puzzles, games, riddles, magic tricks, and other hands-on activities, they discovered that math is more than just figures and formulas.According to Melinda Lanius, a math Ph.D. student who, along with Assistant Professor Philipp Hieronymi, organized this year’s event, “Math is play!” So numerous volunteers from Illinois’ Department of Mathematics, Illinois Geometry Lab, and Association for Women in Mathematics spent the afternoon showing members of the community that play can indeed be math—and that it’s fun.


Melinda LaniusMath Carnival: Gathering for Gardner to Show Kids—Math Is Play…and Fun!

January 20, 2017

“It’s flipping the switch. Every time we have this event, kids are like, ‘Wait, this counts as math?’ Because they’re having fun! – Melinda Lanius

The math folks in charge of the 2017 edition of the Math Carnival: Gathering for Gardner have one goal in mind: trying to get kids to realize that math is more than just some dry formulas memorized in school, but it’s a creative, problem-solving process that’s fun. So from 2:00-5:00 pm on Saturday, January 28th, volunteers from the Department of Mathematics, IGL (Illinois Geometry Lab), and Association for Women in Mathematics will be on hand at Altgeld Hall to get the community, especially local kindergarten through middle school youngsters, engaged and playing with math. “That’s the spirit behind this—Math is play!” says Melinda Lanius, a math Ph.D. student who, along with Assistant Professor Philipp Hieronymi, is organizing this year’s event..


Illinois Math Women Seek to Keep Kids, Especially Girls, in the STEM Pipeline

June 3, 2016

Like most women in STEM, math Ph.D. students Michelle Delcourt, Melinda Lanius, and Claire Merriman, are articulate, born leaders, passionate about math, and committed to outreach. Also like most STEM women, they want to make a difference…specifically to recruit more young people, especially girls, into their field—mathematics. So all three are actively involved in the Illinois chapter of Association of Women in Math (AWM) and in math outreach, like that of the Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL) and several outreach events sponsored by AWM: Sonia Math Day, the Summer Illinois Math Camp, and GEMS.