Students Bring Passion for Math to Annual Competition
Kevin Wood loves math and it’s a love she shares with her family. Both she and her husband are mechanical engineers and all three of their adult daughters have STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) degrees and/or work in STEM fields.
“I have always loved math,” said Wood, principal manager of Engineering at Southern California Edison, who recalled free time spent with her family doing various math activities like Sudoku.
It’s a passion she has brought to the nonprofit MATHCOUNTS, East San Gabriel Valley Chapter, as a volunteer for the past 33 years. She recently joined her SCE co-worker volunteers and more than 100 middle school students at MATHCOUNTS’ annual East San Gabriel Valley Chapter math competition at SCE’s Energy Education Center in Irwindale.
The sixth- through eighth-graders representing various schools in the San Gabriel Valley took part in both a written and oral math completion, cheered on by parents and teachers. The top 15 students from the East San Gabriel Valley Chapter will join other chapter winners at the state competition in March. State winners will then take part in a national competition in April in Washington, D.C.
“Math is such an important skill to have even if you don’t become an engineer, scientist or go into a STEM field,” said Wood, who coordinated this year’s East San Gabriel Valley Chapter competition. “We live in such a data-driven world, it’s a skill we should have. And some of these students may become future SCE employees.”
MATHCOUNTS is a national nonprofit founded in 1983. Each year, 5,200 schools and 100,000 students from across the country compete in MATHCOUNTS competitions. This year, 224 winners from various states will compete in the national competition.
The recent East San Gabriel Chapter competition was sponsored by Edison International, parent company of SCE, and the California Society of Professional Engineers. Edison supports MATHCOUNTS with a $10,000 grant, which provides resources to competitions in Kern County, Orange County, Riverside/San Bernardino, San Joaquin County and Santa Barbara/Ventura County. The funds are used to purchase trophies, supplies and other items to support the local competitions.
“There were some super smart kids at this year’s competition, so I hope they make it to the national competition,” said Wood.
For more information about STEM careers at SCE, visit: edisoncareers.com.