THE BLOG

Influencing Young Women Through Math

07/25/2013 12:22 EDT | Updated 09/24/2013 05:12 EDT

There is something to be said about women who are meant to influence: they are doing it even when we least expect it. As women, we influence everyone around us at work, at home, and while we have fun performing hobbies which, at times, are so unexpectedly different than what we imagine of that person to have. It is imperative to know that what we do at work or during our spare time has a significance that can change the world around us.

I was excited to learn that I was the lucky recipient of two tickets to an event planned by Women of Influence. I have decided to bring with me a woman of worth who has stood by me with my new endeavour from when it was only an idea, Bonnie Lui. As a business woman herself, she was happy to learn that she would get the opportunity to meet Arlene Dickinson, an influential woman who has started her journey as an entrepreneur like many of us, when we never thought we could.

During this event I had the chance to learn more about Abigail and was surprised to find out that she has a hidden talent that not many people may know about -- she is a math tutor in her spare time. Naturally, it was a great fit for her to become involved with an agency with a mission about influencing young women to become the best, particularly to change the way they view math. It was immediately planned and the workshoptook place with Abigail teaching the young women the Fibonacci Sequence. Yes, the moms wanted to know more about it too and wanted to share with you more on Abigail. Here is an interview I did with her with the intention of introducing her to you:

1. Who is Abigail Kell?

• My name is Abigail (Abby) Kell. I am the Event Administrator at Women of Influence in Toronto and I tutor Mathematics part-time. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics (Honours) from Carleton University in Ottawa. I am from Northern New York and have recently gained Permanent Resident status in Canada.

2. Why do you do what you do?

• I am a people person who loves details and organizing things, which brought me to the events industry. I have always had a passion for Math. I enjoy working with children on problem solving and logic skills while showing how Math can be fun and useful.

3. What has been one of your most memorable experiences when working with women?

• My first employers were women and my most memorable experience is working alongside one of them to implement a new system for the resort which improved the environment for staff and campers. It was a valuable experience to have at a young age.

4. How has your relationship to your work/network deepened over time?

• In the events industry I am constantly meeting new people and networking at the events. Since starting to work at Women of Influence in February, I have made great connections like you with hEr VOLUTION and a contact at TIFF. I am looking forward to volunteering at TIFF in September.

5. Can you tell me a little about your Math tutoring experience that challenged you but inevitably made you a better person?

• When tutoring children in Math, it is challenging for me to see them jump to the conclusion that they will never be able to understand something. This has helped me work on my patience and creativity in teaching methods.

6. Who influences you?

• My parents and husband are great role models who influence, support and motivate me. I am also influenced by my childhood friends who are now going to med school, running marathons, teaching abroad, performing music on tour, and more. When I feel like I'm losing focus, inspiration, or belief in myself, celebrating their accomplishments is a great way to reignite my passions and determination.

7. What motivated you to be a part of hEr VOLUTION to teach young girls Math?

• I see many girls who become afraid of Math and dislike Math at a young age because of stereotypes and knowing how many people around them (classmates, parents, etc.) who feel that Math can never be understood or enjoyed. I work to change that mindset.

8. Why Fibonacci?

• Numbers, patterns, and logic are found everywhere in our lives. The Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio are found in nature, music, architecture, weather patterns, etc. Since the pattern only involves addition, it is a fun example to show children something different about Math that they may not already know.

9. You and I have a few things in common such as charitable work and the advancement of women. Can you tell me more about it?

• I enjoy charitable work -- it's a great way to give back to the community, build relationships, and work on personal development. Before working at Women of Influence, I volunteered for the Women's Centre of York Region. I believe in the advancement of women in their chosen professions and breaking down the belief that women are second rate at math and business.

What influences you? Who influences you and how do they do it? Who do you influence? Please share.

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