The Mathematics faculty hosted our annual Sonya Kovalevsky High School Mathematics Day on the MUW campus on October 3rd, 2023.

High school students attend Sonya Kovalevsky Day talk.

Sonya Kovalevsky was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics. We celebrate and honor her academic achievements and contributions to the field by encouraging young women to follow their own interests in mathematics. The event is meant to encourage young women to continue their studies of mathematics and to prepare for possible careers in mathematics-related fields. Students took a competition exam with prizes including MUW scholarships.

A female high school math student winner a prize during Sonya Kovalevsky Day.

The event opened with a keynote speaker, Dr. Clifton Wingard, who helped spark student interest in mathematics with his talk “The Importance of Zero.” MUW math faculty then hosted small group break-out sessions for students to explore mathematical concepts that don’t always come up in the classroom, involving games, puzzles, and hands-on activities.

Dr. Josh Hanes, Associate Professor of Mathematics in the MUW Department of Sciences and Mathematics has found over the years that the amount of mathematics that high school students encounter before coming to college is such a small portion of what they will need in their pursuit of a career in the field. “It’s less about awareness of opportunities,” he says, “and more about understanding that mathematics isn’t just about ‘doing math.’ It’s about making the world around you easier to understand.” By studying mathematics, students develop the mental discipline to focus on abstract concepts, manipulate them in their heads, and use these skills to solve problems quickly and efficiently.

We look forward to hosting this event again next fall!