WLF is a non-profit that I put together to provide educational opportunities for women pursuing STEM fields, focusing on high-school girls of color and working within low-income Latinx communities. WLF offers free STEM-related classes, seminars, and mentoring.
WLF offers a week-long course introducing high school girls in Brazil to Calculus.
In the US: Undergraduate STEM programs often presume prior calculus training, but many high schools in the US and abroad do not offer calculus courses. Even when calculus is offered, it is often only available to students on advanced “tracks” that are determined early in grade school, and placement is highly susceptible to bias.
In Brazil: Calculus is offered as a first-year college course. It is notoriously poorly taught in classrooms with chronic gender disparities. It functions as a "filter class" selectively pushing minority students out of STEM fields.
In a single week of intensive classes, students from my program were able to excel and 30% outperformed Caltech grad students given the same calculus exam. With this calculus program, I seek to demonstrate that it is possible to shorten the STEM pipeline, remove this admissions hurdle linked to profound issues of equity, and improve access for talented students from less privileged backgrounds and underserved communities within the US and abroad.
Student Feedback (translated to English):
“I started the course thinking I’d learn calculus, but I left with much more than I could have imagined. I got to know math, meet new people, and learn about myself. I am now certain that I want to pursue this field.”
“It was an environment where you don’t feel discouraged, but rather encouraged to try again. It was very enriching. I now know what I want to study and what I find exciting. Most importantly, I found out that I have a place in STEM.”
“I now dream of discovering new planets, moons, and stars. Learning that astronomy can be linked to several other fields has made me very interested in pursuing this field. I hope that more and more students have opportunities like this one, to build new dreams and possibilities for an incredible future.”
We offer public lectures on astronomy, planetary sciences, climate sciences, and college planning.
During the pandemic we also hosted an online seminar series with female researchers sharing their research and career paths in fields ranging from neuroscience to particle physics.
The online seminar series has been paused as we gear up for a new initiative: a Data Science program that will involve students in real-time visualization and analysis of planetary climate data.