Brooklyn group focuses on Changing The Ratio of girls in math

September 23, 2014 Heather Chin
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Everyone is talking about STEM education, but 17-year-old Jaana Singh isn’t just talking – she’s taking action to teach girls “the absolute ‘coolness’ of math. . . one girl at a time!”

“I started the business earlier this year when I decided I wanted to go into engineering and kind of realized that a lot of my friends were making fun of it since math is considered nerdy,” explained Jaana of her company, Changing the Ratio.

Jaana, who attends Jericho High School in Long Island and is team captain of her varsity golf team, is also on the varsity tennis team and whose best subject happens to be math.

Having good grades in math “is one of those things you don’t want to admit being good at,” she said. But it wasn’t until Jaana’s 15-year-old sister Jiya admitted that she was afraid to answer questions in math class that “this flipped a switch.”

“Why was it that another smart, popular, athletic girl was scared to admit she liked math?” she asked herself. Another thing that “inspired” her was hearing her math teacher talk about being a female engineer on a submarine.

Since then, Jaana has participated in a summer program in Digital Media Design and been chosen as entrepreneur-in-residence at Kingsborough Community College’s Liberty Partnership Program, through which she will be doing a guest lecture this fall.

On Sunday, November 9, Jaana and her company will be on hand at the upcoming Everything Kids Expo at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Changing The Ratio T-shirts will be available for purchase, with all the proceeds going towards holding free speaker events at local schools and community centers.

In addition to the shirts – which feature a yin-yang sign, the logo “Changing The Ratio,” and the color pink on one side and blue on the other – Jaana and her sister enjoy demystifying math to elementary and middle school girls.

“Workshops [consist of] encouraging them to consider STEM fields as an option. We play games and make it sound cool,” she said. “For example, I told them Ashton Kutcher once wanted to be an engineer.

“Girls shouldn’t feel self-conscious about doing math. I want to encourage them to get out of their comfort zone and combat stereotypes,” she added.

Asked what she thinks about being a role model, Jaana admitted that “if I am a role model, great, but I just want people to feel more confident in doing math because it’s actually really cool.”

CTR's Jaana Singh, a teenage entrepreneur, hosted a Q&A with the members of Team M-Key, the winning Kingsborough Liberty Partnership Program business plan. Singh was the summer entrepreneur in-residence.
CTR’s Jaana Singh, a teenage entrepreneur, hosted a Q&A with the members of Team M-Key, the winning Kingsborough Liberty Partnership Program business plan. Singh was the summer entrepreneur in-residence.


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