Middle and high school girls can call upon University of Wisconsin Oshkosh math major Liz Quandt the next time they are baffled by an algebraic equation or stumped by story problems.
Quandt provides free math tutoring to female students in Fond du Lac as part of a new Girls + Math + Science = Opportunities (GMSO) program, designed to help young girls receive help with math and science in a comfortable environment.
Quandt was selected as the tutor by UW-Fond du Lac Coordinator of Student Services Maggie Gellings because of her advanced knowledge of math as well as her previous experience tutoring college students at UW-Fond du Lac.
Because Quandt didn’t have much previous teaching experience, she had to adapt to the new environment with the younger girls.
“At first they were just kind of nervous and shy. They didn’t know me, and they didn’t know what to expect,” said Quandt, who spent her freshmen year at UW-Green Bay and her sophomore year at UW-Fond du Lac before transferring to UW Oshkosh to finish her studies.
Before long, however, Quandt was getting to know the girls by sharing her knowledge and experiences about math and life.
“We kind of just have fun, and they really like me,” Quandt said. “When their parents come to pick them up, they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, we want to come back next week.’”
Quandt said the girls are excited to receive help with math because the material in class sometimes goes too fast.
“Their teachers can’t always take the time to do that one-on-one kind of teaching,” Quandt said. “So when they have somebody who knows what their talking about and knows where they’re coming from, they really like that.”
The tutoring sessions take place 3:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays in Room 239 of Classroom Building, UW-Fond du Lac, 400 University Drive, and 3:30 to 7 p.m. Thursdays in Room 124 of Sabish Middle School, 100 N. Peters Ave. Snacks and beverages are offered along with tokens for the city bus, if the girls need transportation home.
The idea for the math tutoring program came from Jolayne Ingebritson, a research and design mechanical engineer at Mercury Marine, during a GMSO conference. GMSO director Leanne Doyle wrote the grant for the current pilot program, which is sponsored by the Northeast Wisconsin Area Health Education Center (NEWAHEC).
The goals of GMSO include increasing awareness of careers in math and science, developing confidence in girls that these fields are achievable and providing opportunities for interaction with female role models in these fields.