April 11, 2011

Kate Elliot
Communications Specialist

Reid Exposes Girls to Mathematical Possibilities


VALDOSTA -- Dr. Denise Reid has dedicated her professional career to dependent variables and partial derivatives as a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Having waded through algebraic study alongside mostly men, Reid understands the importance of gender diversification in the field. Since 1996, the mother of three has organized a campus event to encourage high school girls to pursue their mathematical inclinations.

“I have always enjoyed math. It was challenging, and I like a challenge. I declared myself a math major my first quarter of college and just knew that I wanted to become a mathematics professor,” Reid said. “So few women continue on in math. Hopefully this event each year encourages them to continue their study of math by showing them that it can be fun and by providing them with some positive role models.”

Thursday, April 14, will mark the 16th Annual Sonia Kovalevsky High School Mathematics Day (SK Day), named in honor of the first woman to earn a doctorate in mathematics. Workshops at the University Center will introduce female high school students and teachers of both genders to applications of mathematics. Hands-on activities will help students with the transition from high school to college mathematics. Guest speakers will encourage students and teachers to think of mathematics as an appropriate career field for women.

“I want the girls to know that math can be fun,” said Reid, who specializes in differential equations. “These years can be key decision years for girls. During the day, they will be exposed to several positive role models who have excelled in math and science. Also, by bringing them to VSU for SK Day, the students get a chance to visit a college campus. For some of them, it is their first time.”

Kovalevsky (1850-1891) was the first major Russian female mathematician, responsible for important original contributions to analysis, differential equations and mechanics, and the first woman appointed to a full professorship in Northern Europe. The champion for women’s rights in the 19th century published several groundbreaking theories that were the impetus for future discoveries. VSU’s SK Day is funded through a grant from the Association for Women in Mathematics through the National Science Foundation.

For more information about SK Day, call Reid at (229) 333-5784, e-mail her at dtreid@valdosta.edu or visit http://www.valdosta.edu/mathcs/events/SKDays.shtml .

Reid lives in Valdosta with her husband of 12 years, Lamar Reid, and their three children, Rena (10), Callie (8) and Jacob (5).

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