Upper School Math teacher Karen Sanchez answers questions from The Fourcast

Upper School Math teacher Karen Sanchez answers questions from The Fourcast

Upper School math teacher Karen Sanchez. Photo by Shelby Anderson
Upper School math teacher Karen Sanchez. Photo by Shelby Anderson

Did you always like math?

Yes, I did. When I was in eighth grade I got the “Math Award” for school, and I was surprised because I thought [another] girl, who was very smart, was going to get it.

What are the pros and cons of working with all girls?

I love it because y’all are more focused because there’s not boys. I also like that you are kind of more yourself because you are not worried about the boys around, and you are not worried about trying to impress them. The only con I would say would be, maybe, because we don’t have boys, the football games and the spirit stuff that happens, I miss that. I miss having all of the spirit. I hope that we get more spirit with even just supporting our girls.

What is your favorite memory from high school?

Woah, that is so hard! Well… we had a Beta club and I was really involved in that. Then socially, we had a dance where each club had a “sweetheart”, which I was chosen as one, and it was almost like the “sweetheart” of the school where you had to go through interviews and stuff like that. So that was kind of positive for me. But I moved, so my high school experience was different than everybody’s because I went two years in one school, and then two days before my junior year we moved, and I started a whole new school. Everyone thought I was a freshmen, so that was kind of awkward for me.

Why do you think women are less represented in math and sciences than men?

I think co-ed schools kind of perpetuate that, facilitate that a little, because girls think, and this was true for when I was in school too. When boys were around, it used to be kind of an age old thing that you didn’t want to be the smart one.

Boys weren’t interested in smart girls because they were “nerdy” back when I was young. I think that is changing. But, I think girls overall tend to do that because they don’t want to make a boy feel bad. Do you know what I mean? Like, I got it and you didn’t. I’m hoping that’s changing. I have kind of noticed that changing as I have grown older and worked with kids.

But, I just don’t think it is pushed as much, and it is really just something we have to break the barrier of tradition. It has always kind of been that way—men were the scientists, women were the ones to stay home—but we need to break that stereotype because women are just as good, sometimes better, as men at things.

I heard a lady speak one time—she was an engineer—and she spoke to all women and young girls in high school, and she was talking about how the reason she was so successful at her job is because most of the men who are engineers who were these geeky guys who didn’t know how to talk to people, and she moved up very quickly because she was in a profession that was open and communicative.

She was very outgoing, so her personality meshed better to be a manager, and she ended up starting her own business and selling it for billions and ended up being super successful because she was a woman.

NEXT ISSUE: Anybody—including faculty, staff, students, alumnae and parents—can submit questions for Juan Limon, Catering Chef, to [email protected] by Oct. 7. Please include your name and form with your question.