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Actress Danica McKellar talks about math at JCCC

Posted on Jun. 15th, 2011
Story by Peggy Graham
JCCC
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - If mathematics needed a high-profile spokesperson, the solution came in Danica McKellar, actress, best-selling author and advocate for math education. McKellar, best known as Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years and Elsie Snuffin on The West Wing, has authored three books about the mastery of math in an effort to reach young people.

McKellar will give a presentation at 6 p.m. Friday, July 15, in Yardley Hall of the Carlsen Center, Johnson County Community College.

A summa cum laude graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, with a bachelor's degree in mathematics, McKellar has been honored in Britain's esteemed Journal of Physics and the New York Times for her work in mathematics, most notably for her role as co-author of a groundbreaking mathematical physics theorem which bears her name (The Chayes-McKellar-Winn Theorem).

Her first best-selling book, Math Doesn't Suck (2007), uses entertaining examples to teach middle-school girls and their parents how to master many of the tough math concepts introduced in middle school - the time when young girls begin to shy away from math. Next came Kiss My Math (2008) followed by the recent Hot X: Algebra Exposed! (2010).

Her work in math was honored by an invitation to speak before a subcommittee of Congress about the importance of women in math and science in 2000. Her testimony to the science subcommittee on technology addressed the sociological factors contributing to women's deficiency in mathematics. Hard core mathematicians can see McKellar's published proof, Percolation and Gibbs states multiplicity for ferromagnetic Ashkin-Teller models on Z2, at http://danicamckellar.com/math/percolation.pdf.

McKellar continues to enjoy her acting career with a guest appearance in CBS's The Big Bang Theory and a recurring role in How I Met Your Mother in the role of "Trudy."

McKellar's presentation is the culmination of a Eastern Kansas Math Education Summit held July 14-15 at Johnson County Community College, sponsored by Kansas City Kansas Community College, Kansas State University and the University of Kansas.

Tickets to hear McKellar are available for $10 by calling the JCCC box office, 913-469-4445.

McKellar's presentation is underwritten by the Norman and Elaine Polsky Family Supporting Foundation within the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation in partnership with JCCC, and includes topics not being offered elsewhere. Successful professionals share their knowledge to benefit you.