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Mathematics Program Kicks Off Activities


UCR Launches Mathematics Careers Program with Ontario Event

With ISIS, middle-school girls get mentors, college students get experience, and parents get support

(January 18, 2006)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — www.ucr.edu — How important are girls and women to the future of mathematics education? Important enough for UCR to launch a program that teams middle-school girls with college students, university faculty and teacher-mentors.

UCR, the Ontario-Montclair School District and the City of Ontario’s Parks and Community Services officials will launch the program, known as ISIS on Saturday, Jan. 21 at the DeAnza Recreation and Teen Center, 1405 S. Fern St., in Ontario. The ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. and last until noon.

UCR’s Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Outreach, Dr. Pamela Clute, will give a keynote address, followed by a speech by Norma Guereque-Gonzales, an aerospace engineer and DeAnza Middle School graduate, who excelled in mathematics while learning to speak English.

Guereque-Gonzales went on to graduate from Ontario High School; the California Polytechnic University, Pomona with a degree in aerospace engineering; and USC, where she received her MBA.

The program continues with mathematics activities for the 200 middle-school participants, a raffle and a tour of the facility, where much of the program activities will take place. UCR undergraduate participants and teacher mentors will also be attending.

Project ISIS, which takes its name, in part, from the Egyptian goddess of wisdom, became a reality in August (2005) when the U.S. Department of Education awarded UCR a $482,000 grant to develop a program highlighting the importance of mathematics-based careers for middle-school girls. The program also supports efforts to increase the number of female mathematics majors who pursue teaching as a career.

“Project ISIS stands for ‘I Strive, I Succeed,’ this is the message we want to get out to the middle-school girls,” said Project ISIS Director Linda Braatz-Brown. “They can be successful in learning mathematics and this success opens up opportunities for them to achieve a college education and exciting career choices.”

The goals of the two-year grant to the ALPHA Center at UCR, are to increase the pool of middle-school girls taking more and tougher mathematics courses, and succeeding in them; to build parental and guardian awareness of the importance of supporting middle-school girls in mathematics; and to increase the number of female undergraduate college students pursuing degrees in teaching or in advanced studies in mathematics by providing the support they need.

The program will target girls at low-performing schools, and undergraduate female students at UCR, to participate in a yearlong effort hitting hard the knowledge needed to excel in high school and college mathematics, while stressing the options available for young women in mathematics-based careers.

ISIS will also create opportunities for middle-school girls’ most influential mentors — parents and guardians. Through a series of Saturday seminars, the program will help parents and guardians learn more about mathematics at the middle-school level so they can provide their children with additional help and guidance.

Partners with UCR in this event include the Ontario-Montclair School District; DeAnza Middle School Principal Kathy Kinley; Vina Danks Middle School Principal Jeanette Troesh; the Family Solutions Collaborative; the Alliance for Education, San Bernardino County; Chaffey Community College and Chaffey High School.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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