By Michelle Xu
Over a hundred young, female math-enthusiasts across Orange County gathered together to compete in the 2017 All Girls Math Tournament held on April 1 at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School.
The tournament, hosted by the All Girls Math Tournament organization from Orange County Math Circle, was created to encourage girls in third to eighth grade to participate in mathematics and other Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields.
“Women are underrepresented in STEM,” President of All Girls Math Tournament Natalie Yee says. “We wanted girls to pursue their passion in math and have a space where they can share their love with other female individuals.”
The tournament began as emcees Hana and Miya Stauss gave an introduction on the tournament and a summary of the day. The tournament followed the structure of the MathCounts competition with a sprint round to kick things off, followed by the target round. After a quick break, the girls concluded the competition part of the day in the team round, where they worked in teams of six to solve a set of ten relay problems.
“The team round was our favorite and the most exciting part of the tournament because we got to meet new people and work together,” participants Kate and Rachel Cunningham says.
Prior to the awards ceremony, Karmyn McKnight from biomedical technology company, Endologix, presented about her career and how math applies to what she does.
“Sometimes there is a lot of pressure when girls compete with guys, especially in elementary and middle school,” McKnight says. “That is when a lot of girls get discouraged. Sometimes it is intimidating because guys get more aggressive. I think it is really empowering to have a girls-only area so girls can feel inspired and more relaxed.”
The event concluded as the top three individuals from each grade received trophies and the top teams received candy prizes.
The organization is determined to encourage girls to participate in STEM not only in Orange County, but in other areas as well through satellite organizations.
“This was our third year doing satellite organizations,” Director of Marketing Sophie Courtney says. “We had very dedicated satellites in San Diego and Anaheim. I think we will see the payoff of these satellite organizations soon, and we are hoping to get more satellite organizations next year.”
Math is not just for boys. Many girls have the potential to excel and even dominate in the field of mathematics, and the All Girls’ Math Tournament allows them to realize this potential.
To learn about the All Girls Math Tournament, visit their website allgirlsmathtournament.org.