Monday, May 30, 2011

Mathematics in Engineering

A few weeks ago I got an unusual phone call. It was my seventh grade math teacher, whom I haven't spoken to since seventh grade, asking me to come speak to her classes about how I use math in my career. I didn't even know she remembered who I was, because in seventh grade I wasn't even really interested in math and science. And I'm pretty sure as a scared little 12-year-old, I never opened my mouth once in that class.

I of course said yes, and I was delighted to go speak to her 8th and 9th grade algebra classes. I hadn't been back to the school since seventh grade, because my family moved and I attended the rest of junior high at a different school. But the moment I walked in, I kid you not, it still smelled the same. Don't ask me how I remembered the smell...but I did.

I spoke to about 100 kids in the library for about an hour. They were attentive and fascinated, and asked lots of great questions. They made me feel "smart" for an hour or so.

{Why is it that my mom's iphone takes better photos than my point & shoot? Ugh.}

{Putting on my microphone}

Emme sat in the back with my mom, who wanted to come listen to me speak. They ate snacks and climbed on and off the chairs ad nauseum, until Emme couldn't be quiet anymore and they had to wander the halls.

Then about a week later, I got a huge manila envelope in the mail. Inside were about a hundred thank you notes, from each of the students. I sat on the floor and read them all, and some of them were really thoughtful. They talked about how they never knew engineering could be so interesting, and that math could open up so many doors. They talked about how they planned to keep taking math so they could help make the world better, and save lives.

About a week after the letters arrived, I got laid off from my job. Times our tough, and our company is small. The government has slowed its research funding drastically in the last few years, and they had to make some cut backs.

I feel like speaking to those junior high students was my last hurrah. My last chance to promote the profession I know and love, and spark some imagination into the hearts of those young kids. Especially the girls.

And on the bright side, I've got some big plans for my newfound extra time this summer. Lots of swimming & parks & zoos with Miss Emmeline, and enjoying my stay-at-home mommyhood.


Jen and Jared said...

I'm sorry to hear that! But what an opportunity to speak to those kids. And you never know what doors open from little things like that... We should totally hang out this summer! Jackson needs some kids his age to play with. I think he's getting really bored with mommy :)

Janeal said...

Your company is really going to miss you! We don't quite have a sleeping schedule down but once we do I'd love to hang out!Janeal

Jessica Bath said...

That was inspiring just to read I wish I could of heard the presentation! Hope you enjoy your Mommy time and know that all will be provided to you when and as you need it because you are just such a sweet and righteous woman =)

Nurse Heidi said...

Bah humbug for being laid off, but I think it's super cool that you were able to go preach the awesomeness of math to a bunch of junior high kids.

Holler when you're headed out on an excursion - we're always game for a good time.

Jess said...

Hey, I'm so sorry to hear you lost your job! I don't know if this is something you would be interested in, but from time to time Shabby Apple has openings for bloggers to help with our marketing team in return for dresses. You basically find new blogs to hit up for giveaways if they meet the requirements. Since I know you are a great blogger :), I thought I would check and see if you would ever be interested so that when I see the next opening I could throw your name out there. It doesn't equal out to exceptional pay, but when you are at home it is kinda fun to get things for yourself. Let me know if you are interested and I'll keep my eye out for the next opening.

The Pace's! said...

Hey! SO....I have been asking around to family and friends to see if I could get enough people for a coupon class...! There has been lots of people interested...Are you still available????! I would absolutely love it. My schedule is a lot more open right now on Mon/Tues/Thurs?? So excited