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Empowering Young Girls in Math and Science

December 17, 2013

When this awesome GoldieBlox ad went viral this fall, it was playing on all of the office computers in the Admission Office. If you haven't watched it, you MUST treat yourself before you read on.

I was like so many girls who honestly thought I needed a natural math aptitude (which I knew I DID NOT have) to be successful in the subject. Quick story: senior year in high school, my math teacher offered us extra credit if we brought in a math-themed ornament for the classroom Christmas tree. I stayed up nearly all night outdoing my classmates making a math themed angel tree topper with streaming trails of math symbols and white feather wings. Did I ever once invest that many hours to learn a math concept? Of course not. Opportunity to score math points via arts & crafts? Naturally. I laugh now at the choice of an angel for my project - as if only by a gift from God could I actually excel in math.

Recently I read this study, which I really appreciate. It shows that GoldieBlox is right on track to empower girls to enjoy math and science, and that I was wrong to think I simply couldn't do it. My problem, in reality, was that I simply didn't work hard enough at it. I didn't *like* math enough to work hard at it. I'm here to say that like most things in life, you'll get out of math what you put into it.

In college admission, math matters. When students build math work ethic from an early age they are likely to be tracked into advanced math courses or honors/AP options. The best predictor of success on ACT/SAT math sections? Strong curriculum. Most colleges and universities tie scholarship eligibility to test scores (and GPA, and often other factors). Working through a fear of math or attitudes about math can pay off in real dollars.

And it's just not at the outset of college; it's in the professional world too... read more.

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