Girls Talk Math Summer 2019

Girls Talk Math at the University of Maryland runs largely on passion. Sarah Cassie Burnett, with assistance from Cara Peters, founded this summer program for high school girls two years ago to broaden participation and mentoring in the field of mathematics. Burnett and Peters are Ph.D. students in the university’s Applied Mathematics & Statistics, and Scientific Computation program.

The Maryland site was modeled after the program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Then graduate students Francesca Bernardi and Katrina Morgan established it there in 2015, to build a curriculum that addressed issues of persistence, equity, and representation.

"The lack of women in mathematics can feel like an impossibly big issue to tackle, but there is extensive research suggesting why women self-select out of math: girls often lack confidence in their mathematical abilities, don’t get the same encouragement as their male peers, and don’t see themselves represented among mathematicians," said Bernardi and Morgan, now postdoctoral fellows at Florida State University and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, respectively, in an email. "We wanted to build a program geared towards addressing these issues. Our mathematics curriculum design and the media component are designed to combat these barriers. It was also important to us to build a program accessible to students regardless of income. Girls are broadly underrepresented in mathematics, but the reality of education inequality hits low income students the hardest."

To continue reading this article, visit

Girls Talk Math Logo 

Written by Anna De Cheke Qualls for the UMD Graduate School

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4