I See Future Me
Connecting amazing Mathletes to diverse, inspiring role models who share their stories about finding their path to STEM.
Envisioned and supported by the MATHCOUNTS Executive Roundtable.
The MATHCOUNTS Executive Roundtable is an initiative created to innovate and improve MATHCOUNTS programming. Members discuss important issues in STEM education and collaborate to come up with creative solutions to challenges.
There were 5 of us 6th graders left for the last spot on the team, and I was the only girl. I was extremely nervous. I wanted that spot, but I was doubtful. My competition was 4 boys, and they always seemed to win at these things. My coaches were boys, they picked mostly boys for the A Team...I knew that I had scored higher than the 6th grade boys on the test that decides competition, but I was still very anxious.
When I got there [to the chapter competition], I was very intimidated because the majority of the competitors were boys. Another thing that really made me nervous was that I was the only Hispanic there competing.
I See Future Me
- Connect with and inspire our Mathletes from various backgrounds.
- Break down stereotypes about race/ethnicity and gender in STEM as members of many different groups, including those currently underrepresented in STEM.
- Break down stereotypes about different paths to math by talking about challenges they faced in their own journeys.
Why Do Role Models Matter?
Bethany Brookshire (2014), "A teacher's guide to mentoring in STEM," Science News for Students.
Sapna Cheryan, Allison Master and Andrew N. Meltzoff (2015), "Cultural stereotypes as gatekeepers: increasing girls' interest in computer science and engineering by diversifying stereotypes," Frontiers in Psychology.
Katie Hafner (2012), "Giving Women the Access Code," New York Times.
Danielle N. Lee (2011), "Under-represented and underserved: Why minority role models matter in STEM," Scientific American (guest blog).
Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher (2001), Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Leah Shafter (2016), "Becoming a Math Person," Usable Knowledge (blog), Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Get to Know More of Our Future Mes
We'll add ISFMe role models throughout the year, but figured we'd start with some of our own amazing, diverse STEM role models. Check back soon to meet STEM professionals engaging with MATHCOUNTS students in their local communities and sharing their stories.
Director of Education, MATHCOUNTS Foundation
My Path to Math: For as long as I can remember, I have loved math. I was the star student in math class all through elementary school; I was always eager to solve math problems; I attended Oxon Hill Science and Tech (a STEM magnet school that I had to test into). But it really wasn't until I went to Spelman College (a historically black college for women) that I was around other girls who looked like me and excelled in math. That was one of the things I liked most about Spelman—before college I felt like I was a unicorn, and it was just so nice not to be.
After college, I began working in database management and later became a software engineer for a financial institution. I liked these jobs, but deep down, I knew I wanted to become a math teacher. My time in education included two positions as an Albert Einstein Fellow at the National Science Foundation—first as a liaison between program directors and secondary teachers, and next as the leader of a conference to support educators doing their own research. I liked knowing that my work helped create programs for teachers that were collaborative and truly useful in practice (not just in theory). After NSF, I came to MATHCOUNTS and I've been here ever since!
Why My Job Is Awesome: My work at MATHCOUNTS combines a lot of what I've enjoyed most in my STEM journey: I get to collaborate with other math content experts who write, edit and proofread our math problems, plus I get to create resources for a program that helps other students like me realize they're not alone in loving math. Most of all, I like getting to show a fun and challenging side of math. It's not "this is what you have to learn because the state says you need it to get your diploma." MATHCOUNTS is not cookie-cutter. It's creative.
Executive Director, MATHCOUNTS Foundation
Falls Church, VA
My Path to Math: I always enjoyed math in school, and I just assumed everyone else did, too! I liked the feeling of working and getting a problem right…each correct problem felt like a success. When considering a career, I knew I wanted to teach, but I didn’t really feel strongly about what I would teach. In high school, my counselor suggested I focus on math because I was “fortunate enough to enjoy it” and it was a lot easier to get a job teaching math than teaching other subjects. While I don’t think those were the best reasons to pursue my degree in mathematics and secondary education, I am so glad I did! My degree and certification have opened up so many doors.
Why My Job Is Awesome: When I started at MATHCOUNTS, I worked on the math materials, so I did thousands of math problems a year. What job could be better? Working on the School Handbook, I became such a better problem solver, which shows MATHCOUNTS works for both kids and adults. Over the years my responsibilities have changed, but I still love that I am working each day to enhance the math education of students. I am also unbelievably fortunate to work with the amazing team at MATHCOUNTS, as well as the volunteers around the country who make it all happen.