The Katharine Johnson Scholar Sisters Math Club has a very simple reason for the enthusiasm with which students approach their extracurricular math activities. “You get to be smart,” says one member of the club.
“Ideally, we’d love for some of them to become Katherine Johnsons,” said instructor William Polite. “The ultimate goal is that some of them will someday get STEM scholarships. But, as long as they continue with their education, I’ll be happy.”
At the Build and Rebuild Math Academy which Polite runs in downtown Wichita, the club has met twice a week since September. The goal is to get girls to have confidence in middle school STEM programs. But the girls like it for one simple reason – it’s fun.
Recently the students saw the movie “Hidden Figures,” and learned about their club’s namesake and her accomplishments and difficulties during the era of segregation. They also have social events, and are trying to raise money to attend STEM conferences locally and nationally.