Temple University’s College of Science and Technology held it’s seventh annual Sonia Kovalevsky Day on Saturday, April 7. Over 50 middle school girls in grades 5 through 8 gathered in the Tuttleman Learning Center all morning to participate in mathematical games, competitions, and workshops.
Sonia Kovalevsky days have been carried out in middle schools, high schools, and universities across the nation for more than twenty years. Sonia Kovalevsky was a Russian mathematician, and the first woman of her time to obtain a Ph.D. in mathematics. Sonia Kovalevsky Day serves to encourage young women to continue their study of mathematics and learn more about the field, including future career possibilities.
Professor Irina Mitrea, Temple’s Mathematics Department Chair, said the day’s festivities embodies the idea that young girls studying mathematics can be exposed to the same performance opportunities as boys since math is typically a male-dominated field.
Undergraduate STEM students, as well as Temple’s faculty and staff, work together each year to put together a successful program for these young women. This year, the activities began promptly at 10 a.m. Students split into groups and simultaneously attended different sessions, switching stations every 40 minutes.
Some of the stations included challenges such as, “Is it a Knot or Not?” and “Decoding Patterns of Nature and Art: The Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio.”
The young mathematicians had time to network and connect with other participants during lunch discussions. Individual competitions took place in the afternoon, where each student was given a chance to shine and show off their best skills. The day was capped off by a short awards ceremony.
The Sonia Kovalevsky Mathematics Day program aims to impact the way young women see the mathematical world while also strengthening their skills. This event overall supports Temple University’s undergraduate and graduate program, turning students into more well-rounded professionals. The program raises money throughout the year to continue the day program and encourage young women to seek further STEM education. Donations can be made here.