Waterloo encourages high school girls to Think About Math!

Monday, April 16, 2018

At 14, Mubina Chunari hadn’t chosen her dream job, but she knew she loved math. At the time, she couldn’t figure out how to make a living by loving math and it was holding her back. The only adults she’d met with careers in math were either university professors or her own teachers. Although teaching interested her, she wanted a career outside of academics that would fit more into her personal growth goals.

To finish high school with the proper credits for post-secondary, Mubina had to decide by grade 10 whether studying math would remain a passion, or if it was a practical career. Mubina’s decision was difficult without knowing all the available options.

Luckily for her, that year saw the first Think About Math! event put on by the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) at the University of Waterloo. Mubina signed up to have her questions answered, and ended up with her eyes opened.

Think About Math! is a program designed to foster enthusiasm for math in for girls in grades 9 and 10. The full day workshops demonstrate that math is fun, relevant, and leads to exciting careers. Waterloo faculty members and professional businesspeople lead all the sessions.

In the afternoon, participants get the opportunity to talk openly with successful math alumni about their personal journeys. By sharing their career paths and lifestyles, the women give participants a real glimpse into their own futures. With careers ranging from investment bankers to personal entertainment system designers, participants get a good scope of the possibilities.

Through talking with alumni and facilitators, Mubina decided that Waterloo was the right fit for her to pursue higher education. A few years later, she applied and was accepted into the Math Business double degree program.

While studying at Waterloo, she took advantage of forward-thinking programs like Velocity to discover her true passion – emerging technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Now, almost a decade after Mubina participated as a student, she’s come back to pay it forward as an alumna. Equipped with life experience and a great career as a Technology Consultant at Ernst and Young, she returned to inspire the next generation to think about math.

Collage of photos of high school students participating at Think About Math!