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May 11, 2012

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The school system here is focussed on getting the maximum number of people up to at least a minimum level.
I would prefer it pushed the super-talented as far as they can go. So I finance a scholarship for kids with VERY high scores in Math and Physics so that they do not have to work to exist while studying. I also donate a prize for the best paper on cryptography by postgrads.

Stu--Good thoughts, thanks. I'm thinking, in particular, of some of the bright youngsters who might be intimidated out of interest in physics or other scientific endeavors such as Darlene tells us she was intimidated out of an interest in the maths. Perhaps they need someone to stand up for/encourage their interests.

WIWAK, no one (but me) thought that I should go into the sciences. Although bright, I was not, after all, a genius - and I was female. There were no scholarships available for girls who wished to pursue the sciences - at least - not as far as I could find. Perhaps that was not the case at the bigger, better institutions of which I had no knowledge in those days.

Darlene--What are your thoughts?

I think donating is a personal thing and what little money I have to donate goes to the local food bank. I know that it will not be spent on administration and advertising but will help feed hungry families.

FWIW I, too, think donating is a personal matter probably influenced by unique motivations for each of us.

For anyone who is motivated to contribute to education, clearly there's a special need for science and math strengths among our youth. I loved both subjects but the offerings where I had to go to school were limited -- chemistry and physics alternated yearly. I recall our physics instructor took us only half-way through the text. He claimed to have invented the hydro-gyro.

My high school senior Eng. paper was on the chemical industry. I was so enthusiastic and wrote DuPont for some information, telling them, also, that my goal was to be working for them one day. By the time I got to college majoring in medical technology, I realized my high school science basics were inadequate.

Interestingly, when I went into my current profession mid-life, while in post-grad. studies before my M.S., I pursued add'l course work for a special credential. This was in addition to other licensing and credentialing I was getting that required I take a Univ. undergrad senior level education dept. math class. My concerns of not being able to compete with those math majors proved to be mistaken and I was one of best in class. I became re-enamoured with math, but also concerned that I had performed better than most undergrads whose major had been math. I couldn't help wondering what kind of math teachers they'd be.

I still enjoy math, had liked algebra, geom., etc. but with lack of use am sure I've limited abilities now. I'm fascinated with science, especially after physically examining an actual human brain which is a primary focus now.

So, I think there's much to be said for stimulating youth to be interested in science and math, but the key is accessible classes, good instructors and the materials with which students can engage and experiment.

I resist being told what I should give, and I wish to have control over who benefits from my gift. Like you, I do not need to be tagged as a giver. It only encourages others to make similar demands on you.

I would really like to know whether grade four is too late to start encouraging kids in math and science. How would you direct a gift like that? Would you donate to a specific school district, or would you fund research in grade school education focused on that subject?

Darlene--I agree that preventing hunger/malnutrition is worthy of our dollars. Hunky Husband and I only make three joint donations - 1) American National Red Cross, 2) American Red Cross Midway-Kansas Chapter Disaster Services, and 3) Kansas Food Bank (in Wichita). Thanks for your input.

Joared--Hmmm...I don't know to what your former physics instructor refers. There is a breaking system (notably for bikes) called "Hydro Gyro" and there is a dynamic sculpture in the San Francisco Bay area of the same name.

I'm curious as to what "senior level education dept. math class" includes. I would guess that it stops at differential and integral calculuses. Does it include linear algebras, vector or matrix algebras? Glad that you enjoyed the cours(es), whatever it included.

Buffy--My observation is that kids don't become discouraged by math until about 4th-6th grades during which they increasingly bow to peer pressure. Re-educate me if you feel I need it, please. I thought of two options: 1) working with our local school district (which includes a disadvantaged community about 5 miles from us - the one hit so hard by the tornado on April 14, 2012) to fund programs that may be extant and 2) working with the outreach program at the university - with which some of the physics professors are involved. In either case, I had not thought of helping to fund research. Any further info/thoughts that you could provide would be helpful.

P.S. My email link is just below my photo - at the top of the left-hand sidebar.

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