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Last month we ran our first SUMS (Steps to University for Mathematical Students) event in Lancaster, hosting about 50 Year 12 girls from across Cumbria and Lancashire.

SUMS was a brand-new event for 2023, designed and created by the AMSP Central Team. We, as Area Coordinators, very much enjoyed delivering this excellent day.

The two main aims of the day were to develop students’ problem-solving skills and to work in groups on extended mathematical problems.

Most of the tasks and activities were explore this! or investigate that! with a large number of problems to choose from.

There were no prizes for finishing first, no rewards for getting 100% and nothing wrong with being completely stuck – after all, as one of the speakers that day reminded us, ‘being stuck is what makes you a mathematician’! Instead, everyone focused on exploring mathematical ideas in a fun and engaging (and non-competitive) way. We called this “Slow Math.

The students also had the opportunity to talk to current female undergraduates and postgraduates. They were able to quiz them on life at university and what it was like to study maths (or another STEM subject) for their degree.

We also had a couple of inspirational speakers talking about their journey into mathematical academia and careers: Ziyang Yang and Robyn Goldsmith, an overview of whose work can be found on the Lancaster University websites.

All in all, a great day was had by a fantastic group of mathematically-minded young women.

Look out for a SUMS event near you next year!

Adrian Hall, Jenny Gatley, James Groves
(Area Coordinators, Cumbria and Lancashire)

For more details about SUMS events and web magazines, click here.

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