This summer, four students from Texas State University and the Breakthrough Central Texas program, Alexa Hernandez-Lopez (Biology), Jaiden Suda (Marketing), Dayanara Renteria (Biology), and Kriti Magar (Nursing), joined MathHappens for a summer internship program. Over the course of the summer, these students had the opportunity to engage in multiple aspects of the MathHappens internship experience. Aspects of the internship included, but are not limited to: designing models, puzzles, and math-related ads for the Austin Chronicle; learning about laser cutting, 3D printing, and the assembly of MathHappens models; and planning and maintenance of a public outreach program at The Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex in East Austin.
On August 8th, this group presented their internship experience at the Huston-Tillotson International STEME Conference. Matt Hertel was the panel moderator and the group introduced MathHappens Foundation, followed by discussion of their projects and outreach spaces they worked in this summer. The presentation concluded with each intern sharing their personal experience from the summer. Kriti enjoyed interacting with visitors at Austin Nature and Science Center and at the Millenium and recalled a time that she was able to speak Korean with a group of visitors. Her favorite projects included a 3d printing project and optical illusion she created for visitors at the Millenium. Jaiden described his time at MathHappens as a transformative experience where he gained a new understanding of the need for public outreach in mathematics. He felt very positive about the connections he made with peers and supervisors as well as his overall experience of working in makerspaces including MakeATX and our headquarters in Austin. He made a new version of a puzzle from Ernest Irving Freese’s book on Geometric Transformation and contributed to multiple other projects. Alexa brought her photographic skills to this experience, taking many of the pictures that were used in the social media and marketing materials the team made this summer. She also designed and created a new puzzle on the laser and an ad for The Millennium that was published in the Austin Chronicle. Dayanara focused her time at MathHappens on the outreach experience while also prioritizing her summer coursework. She interacted with visitors at both locations and said the most rewarding part of this experience was showing math in a different light, that it can be fun.
We really enjoyed this group! They are welcome to work on future outreach projects and we look forward to celebrating their successes with MathHappens and at college and work experiences beyond.