Can girls do math?

Can girls do math?

When I was in high school, I was the ONLY girl in the most advanced math class. Every day in class, I wondered whether I was smart enough to hang with this group of guys. And they weren’t just any guys, they were some of the smartest guys in our school! I often felt like the girl in this picture, stumped by a puzzle (though perhaps harder than multiplication!) and questioning whether I could solve it.
I struggled the most with concepts that required visualizations – graphs and parts of geometry were so hard! How could anyone expect a 9th grader to see those shapes in their heads? Or to look at graphs of what seemed to be weird lines and understand what they were all about? And what was more frustrating was the boys who seemed to get it right away. What did they see that I didn’t see??
For me, it was my mom who encouraged me to believe that I could hold my own with those boys. She reminded me every day to not be afraid to ask questions and told me stories from her own life of people who seemed like they knew everything but actually didn’t. Because of her advice, I was always able to overcome my insecurities in order to succeed in math and eventually become an engineer!
But there were lots of other girls in my school who didn’t have the same encouragement and had more than given up on math by the time they left middle school. What about those girls? And now that I’m an adult, I believe that I have to skills to support the growth of girls like them in high schools around the country. That is why I believe in STEM from Dance and the tremendous impact that it could have on on the lives of girls across the nation.
Mikala Streeter,
Electrical Engineer and Computer Scientist


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