Fall 18 , Kate Pearce’ 21, Girls Angle: An Introduction to Girls’ Angle + Me

In high school, I really enjoyed tutoring math. I ran my own tutoring business working with private clients in grades 4-11, and I also worked at Mathnasium in the summers as a Math Instructor. I knew I’d have no shortage of math for myself to do at MIT (and it sure hasn’t disappointed on that front!), but I wondered how I’d be able to continue working with younger students.

I really like working with kids, which also translated to jobs as a youth soccer referee and a babysitter when I was back home near Chicago. Upon coming to MIT, I knew I wanted to get a small job pretty immediately to make money and keep up with that nice routine. I find that having a job or a collection of a couple small ones really helps my time feel worthwhile and not dominated by school. Therefore, I scanned the work study job posting list last year. Almost immediately, my eyes were drawn to Girls’ Angle, a non-profit math club for girls. This totally fell in line with my passion for teaching math as well as encouraging, inspiring, and challenging girls in STEM.

As a next step, I emailed the head of the organization and asked about opportunities to join as a Math Mentor. Next thing I knew I was thrown into a “meet” (the weekly session) and was teaching an extremely bright girl about logarithms off the top of my head. I had no idea what to expect, but this certainly wasn’t it. Girls’ Angle far exceeded expectations. I had imagined a club to tutor girls who were struggling in math. Instead, I found this vibrant community of incredibly curious and intelligent young students who show up each week eager to discover exciting new math concepts and play around with mathematics. The welcoming environment really allows the girls to explore what they’re interested in and push their math knowledge beyond that which they learn in the traditional classroom.

For me, being a part of Girls’ Angle has been so inspiring. It’s such a refreshing and lovely part of my week to show up each Thursday and really engage with these wonderful girls. As the weeks went on last year, I got to know the girls better and better. From silly inside jokes to ongoing inductive proofs, the thread continues week to week, and it’s cool knowing that I’m a part of that. Girls’ Angle refreshes me, and I was so excited to return to it this year as a sophomore.

While I’ve always loved math, it’s not necessarily the primary thing I focus on here at MIT. I’m course 6-7, which is Computer Science and Molecular Biology. I’m interested in applying computer science to analyze population health data or create better tools for scientists. All in all, I want to use computer science to advance biology and ultimately medicine to improve people’s health. In my days at MIT, I take a bunch of science classes and some computer science and a tiny bit of math, but it’s lots of fun to have that continued math exploration through Girls’ Angle. More so, it’s always great to break the “MIT bubble” and head just slightly off campus to work with my favorite young students. When we smile, laugh, and learn together it really makes my day. I had no doubts about continuing Girls’ Angle this semester, even as my schedule filled up. It’s been wonderful getting to continue working with the girls from last year as well as our new members. I hope that I can continue to bring my enthusiasm and creativity to the girls I’m “mentoring,” but who really inspire me.

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