Girls Talk Math started at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2016. The UNC camp serves students in the Triangle and surrounding areas. In 2018 the program expanded to the University of Maryland at College Park. Check out their website for more math camp fun!
MISSION AND PHILOSOPHY
The goal of Girls Talk Math is to make advanced mathematics accessible to students through a free educational summer program in which students with an interest in mathematics work with their peers to tackle challenging problems and learn how to effectively communicate their work.
Our approach is based in an understanding of the barriers preventing young women from entering mathematical fields, including a failure to see themselves represented among mathematicians, lack of confidence in their abilities, and less encouragement from peers and teachers. The myth that mathematics has historically been done only by men can contribute to internalized beliefs that women are less capable of success in these careers. In researching the lives and work of a wide range of mathematicians who have made significant contributions to the field, students will see their own potential to have careers in mathematics. We aim to increase confidence by giving students a voice and a platform to be heard through the blog and podcast series. During the camp week we bring local students and instructors together, building a supportive and inclusive community of peers and mentors.
STRUCTURE AND ACTIVITIES
The camp day runs from 9:00am to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday, with before and after camp supervision beginning at 8:30am and ending at 5:00pm.
Each camp day will begin and end with whole camp check ins and cool downs. There will be time for group work every day with several other activities interspersed throughout the two weeks. These activities include short lectures on the various topics campers are studying, professional and student panels, How To Make a Podcast, Growth Mindset, Scratch Workshop, and Makey Makey studio time.
Campers will divide into groups of four or five to complete several projects throughout the two weeks. Each group will
- Work independently through a problem set on an advanced mathematics topic usually not encountered until college or even graduate school.
- Write a Blog Post about the mathematics learned in the problem set.
- Research a female mathematician whose work is related to the topic covered in the problem set.
- Write and record a podcast about their mathematician’s life and work and how it relates to the work the students did at camp.
At the end of the first day of camp, students will indicate their preferences for which problem set they would like to work on. Girls Talk Math staff will break campers into groups based on their preferences.
This program was funded for the first three years (2016-2018) by the MAA Tensor Women and Mathematics Grant. We were awarded the MAA Tensor SUMMA Grant which funded our camp through 2022. Through these grants the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) funds projects aimed at encouraging young women and underrepresented minority students to study mathematics. We are honored and excited to have received these grants. Girls Talk Math would not have been possible without the support of the MAA Tensor Grants.