What a difference a year makes

Wynn-Grant inside a barrel cage used to trap bears. She had just tranquilized this large male and is getting ready to collar him and take some hair and blood samples. Wynn-Grant and her colleagues later released him back into the wild.
Carnivore Ecologist Rae Wynn-Grant told a gathering of Math4Science supporters that she was in college before she developed confidence in her math skills. Now she has used statistical modeling to help in her day to day work studying bear populations and works at the American Museum of Natural History.

This week Math4Science and dozens of supporters celebrated our first year as a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a holiday season house party. “It’s inspiring to bring people together to celebrate what we’ve achieved and help us build into the future,” said co-founder Justine Henning. In just one year, Math4Science has not only become an official non-profit organization but also built a beautiful website (many thanks to web designer Amelia Otte, who donated her time to M4S over the past two years) and recruited a talented and dedicated Board of Directors as well as an energetic Board of Advisors.

The M4S team has interviewed dozens of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians and posted their profiles on the Explore Science pages of our website. We also piloted lessons in two schools and are prepared to take the organization to the next level, reaching out to more schools and after-schools via M4S@School (our in-person teacher training and curriculum services). And we began working with experienced math teachers to build our Explore Math program, which connects every math problem students do to the work of the scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians profiled in Explore Science.

Co-founder Brendan Mernin, Board Member Eduardo Castell, and Board Chair Colin Chellman also spoke with passion about seeing children’s eyes light up and their minds engage when real scientists are introduced in a math lesson.

The Math4Science supporters present looked just as mesmerized when Carnivore Ecologist Rae Wynn-Grant addressed the gathering by video. When she was a child, “To tell the truth I never considered myself particularly good at math” said Wynn-Grant, who creates statistical models of carnivore habitats in the Western U.S. to help maintain peace between humans and other carnivores. She credits a college professor with helping her “see how math could inform my day to day.”

We were thrilled that State Assemblymember Diana Richardson came out to support Math4Science and the chances it gives the children of her Brooklyn district and others in New York City and across the United States to learn about and prepare for STEM careers.

Aerospace engineer Julia Lintern also addressed the gathering, regaling us with the head-spinning story of her career, in which math (in the form of car and airplane engineering) and art (in the form of fashion design and puppet-making) competed for her heart like jealous lovers. For now, math is the winner, as Lintern teaches computer science to the clients of Metis Data Science Training.

Math4Science has big plans for 2016, so stay tuned. And if you were not able to come to the party, you can still give a much-needed donation.

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