Well Said: Fighting for women in math

On this week's episode of Well Said, doctoral student Katrina Morgan discusses founding the Girls Talk Math summer camp and explains how the program has been giving local high school girls a new outlook on mathematics.

When Katrina Morgan explains to people that she studies math as a doctoral candidate in the College of Arts & Sciences, they often respond unfavorably, saying they just “aren’t a math person.”

“You wouldn’t just say, “Oh, I’m not a history person,’” Morgan said.

She argues that mathematics is a field where people decide whether they are or are not fit for the field very early in their academic careers. This is especially true for girls because there is less representation of women in mathematics, Morgan explained.

In 2016, Morgan, along with fellow doctoral student Francesca Bernardi, set out to change that by founding Girls Talk Math, which invites high school girls from North Carolina to UNC-Chapel Hill to participate in a two-week day camp that explores mathematical concepts.

The campers are given problem sets to solve as groups, with topics that span from quantum mechanics to computer engineering. But the camp also teaches the importance of communication skills. Aside from working on math problems, participants can record podcasts, research female mathematicians and write blog posts.

On this week’s episode of Well Said, Morgan discusses Girls Talk Math and how the program has been giving local high school girls a new outlook on mathematics.

Listen to this episode on SoundCloud or wherever you get podcasts.

Read a transcript of the episode.

Join us every Wednesday for Well Said to hear from students, faculty, staff and alumni. Each week, you’ll learn what’s going on in classrooms, labs and around campus, and how it pertains to the local, national and international headlines.