Dr. Mary Alice Reyes, Executive Director of the Texas Graduate Center (TGC), was invited to be the keynote speaker at this years Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching (CAMT) “Rebranding Math” Share Fair in La Joya ISD.
Dr. Reyes addressed more than 150 La Joya ISD teachers on the importance of supporting girls in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Her speech, titled “I’m a Girl and I Love Math,” focused on the alarming statistics facing girls in respect to careers in STEM, and more importantly, what administrators and educators can do to turn those statistics around.
She highlighted Girls Engaged in Mathematics (GEM) summer camp which launched in La Joya ISD this past summer. The camp focused on fifth grade girls entering sixth grade. The goal of the camp was to not only sharpen their abilities in mathematics but to help build their confidence in the subject as well.
Servando Abad, a teacher at La Joya’s West Academy, found Dr. Reyes’ speech inspiring, not only professionally, but on a personal level as well. “I have two daughters. Its good information for me personally because I can motivate my daughters to like math” he said.
Also presenting at the Share Fair was TGC scholar and Harvard graduate student Queen Martin. Martin’s presentation, titled “Let’s Multiply,” showcased different strategies for teaching multiplication. Martin had her audience stand and practice all the techniques with their fellow attendees. “This is fun!” said an audience member as she participated in a “Rock, Paper, Multiply” game inspired by the traditional “Rock, Paper, Scissors” game.
The annual Share Fair was organized by Lucy Munoz, La Joya ISD Elementary Math Coordinator and Rio Grande Valley Council of Teachers of Mathematics (RGVCTM) President. Ms. Munoz was integral in coordinating the GEM Summer Camp for the district. Having struggled with math herself as a young girl, Ms. Munoz knows the value of camps like GEM to help boost confidence and ability in young girls.