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Mathworks lands grant for summer girls math camp scholarships

By Philip Hadley
University News Service
May 13, 2008


The Mathematical Association of America has awarded Texas State University-San Marcos assistant mathematics professor Alejandra Sorto a $6,000 grant in support of the second annual Texas Girls’ Mathworks Junior Summer Math Camp June 9-20.  The camp’s purpose is to encourage more women to seek careers in mathematics, science and technology.

Sorto, program coordinator, will utilize the money for scholarships that will allow economically disadvantaged fifth-seventh grade girls to attend the two-week program. The girls who receive the scholarships will complete the regular camp curriculum but will also participate in special activities tailored specifically to them.

“The girls receive individualized mentoring,” Sorto said. “This year we have several new ideas for their curriculum that include bringing them to campus and showing them the life of a mathematician.”

During the 2007 camp a pre-test and post-test for algebra was administered to the children. As a whole, the group improved their skills significantly at the end of the camp. Sorto said she attributes the children’s success to the structure of the program.

“Our camp is structured so that there is no testing or judgment on the kids,” Sorto said. “They are able to have fun with mathematics and learn it in a different way.”

Priscilla Riojas, an early childhood education senior and camp facilitator, said making a difference is what she enjoys most about the program.

“Having the opportunity to make a profound impression on the lives of these girls is so important,” Riojas, a Murphy native said. “As a minority female, I am in a position to contest the societal norms of this community and redefine their expectations and attitudes. Through all of my words and actions, my ultimate goal is not just to teach them mathematics, but to teach them that they can overcome any circumstance through education.”

For more information about the camp contact Alejandra Sorto at (512) 245-4722 or email sorto@txstate.edu. To apply for the camp visit www.txstate.edu/mathworks and click on junior summer camp.