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12 June, 2019 Academic

Choose Maths Day: Empowering girls to pursue careers in mathematics

Last Friday, a group of Year 9 girls attended the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) Choose Maths Day at the University of Melbourne, designed to empower students, particularly girls and women, to pursue careers in mathematics.

“Women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in university courses and in the workforce,” said St Michael’s Head of Mathematics, Mr Bruce Williams. “Choose Maths Day aims to promote mathematics to girls and show them that there are exciting career opportunities in the areas of maths and science.”

Choose Maths Day: Empowering girls to pursue careers in mathematics A group of Year 9 girls attended Choose Maths Day at the University of Melbourne

Year 9 students Eloise and Mairead participated in Choose Maths Day and have both been inspired to study high-level mathematics when they reach VCE, and to consider studying mathematics at university.

“Choose Maths Day was really interesting because we were able to learn how maths is incorporated in lots of different areas and that there are so many different career paths you can take by studying maths,” said Eloise.

The students heard from three female presenters from the University of Melbourne who have specialised in the areas of mathematics and science. The presenters included Forest Scientist, Cristina Aponte, Lecturer in Data Science, Susan Wei, and Lecturer in Mathematics, Marcy Robertson.

“The speakers were great, it was so interesting to hear how they apply maths and science in the real world,” said Mairead.

Following the presentations, the students participated in four mathematics based workshops that were designed to help them explore mathematical concepts and apply them to different scenarios.

“The activities were not overly mathematical, they were more about teaching us how different types of maths relate to the real world and how you might actually use maths in a job,” said Eloise.

I was really surprised to find out that 75% of the fastest growing jobs require STEM skills.Year 9 student, Eloise

The University of Melbourne hosted Choose Maths Day which was a fantastic opportunity for the students to learn more about studying at university.

“It was really cool to spend a day at Melbourne Uni and to learn what university life is really like,” said Mairead. “We were able to walk around the campus, see how everything works and also take classes in lecture theatres.”

  • Choose Maths Day: Empowering girls to pursue careers in mathematics
    Graph theory workshop
  • Choose Maths Day: Empowering girls to pursue careers in mathematics
    The students enjoyed taking classes in lecture theatres

The AMSI Choose Maths Day was a fantastic event aimed at increasing participation of girls and young women in mathematics and disciplines requiring mathematics throughout school, university and into the workforce.

At St Michael’s, we are fortunate to have expert staff in the faculties of Mathematics, Science and Technology who are so willing to share their passion for their subjects with our students across the School. Next week all Year 8 students will participate in The Maths Show, an engaging live stage performance designed to entertain and engage students while increasing their interest in mathematics, and later this year students will compete in the Australian Mathematics Competition.