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Math Quest: A winning formula

[Math Quest]
Camp organizers Siobhain Broekhoven, Carly Rozins and Natalie Corneau are eager for this year's program to begin. (University Communications)












Those who don’t typically associate mathematics with fun and games have likely never attended Math Quest, an all-girls math camp sponsored by the Canadian Mathematical Society and the Queen’s University Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Starting Monday, Math Quest, a four-day residential program, is where high-school aged young women interested in mathematics come together to learn new and exciting ways of applying mathematical skills.

“I think it’s important to try and reach those kids who enjoy math, or who could enjoy math and really want to be challenged, because I don’t think there’s really anything else like this out there,” says Carly Rozins, a PhD candidate studying evolutionary game theory and one of the camp’s organizers. “It’s an opportunity to meet like-minded girls as well.”

Based on the diversity of programming, Math Quest truly stands alone.

Participants will experience an Amazing Race across campus solving math clues and riddles at each location, program their own Lego robots, and even look at the mathematics of salsa dancing.

The activities are exciting and innovative, as the camp’s staff look for new ways to apply theoretical mathematics across the different branches of the discipline.

“It’s also activity-based, so they’ll have lots of hands-on activities and experiences – it’s all applications of math, so you can see how your classroom knowledge applies,” says Natalie Corneau, one of the camp’s instructors.

Participants have the chance to learn from graduate students, doctors, and “mathemagicians” from all different walks of mathematics – from game theorists, to algebraic experts.

While fostering a deeper love and appreciation for math, the program also serves as an introduction for many to the Queen’s and Kingston communities. This year, participants will take up a block of Leggett Hall, getting a taste of the Queen’s residence experience.

According to camp director Siobhain Broekhoven, it’s the connections and bonds created at camp that make it such a special place to be, and it all starts with a love of mathematics.

“We ask the applicants why they want to come to Math Quest and the top reason is ‘I really love math and I want to know more’. We have girls coming from BC, one from the Sunshine Coast – you can’t come from much farther than that in the country,” she says. “I remember last year, when we were finishing up the camp, we asked if there was anybody who wanted to share their e-mail who wanted to stay in touch with each other – and every single girl did.”

The love of math that each and every instructor and organizer at the camp has is infectious, and the relationships fostered are seamlessly facilitated through engaging mathematical quests.

Math Quest promises to be an exciting opportunity for those who love working with numbers, equations and formulas.

It all adds up.