Mathochism, The Book?

Between a welcome increase in paid work, networking dos meant to bring me more paid work and dealing with personal health issues (which I’m still considering writing about), I realize I’ve been falling down on my blogging.

Okay — I’ll be honest: I’ve also been sulking about my geometry sabotage, even as I’ve realized taking a class on top of everything else would be exhausting.

However, I’ve come to a decision — I am going to try and turn Mathochism into a book. My decision is partly the result of encouragement from several kind and well-meaning people, including ones in math and at least one literary agent, and partly the result of my wanting to turn this experience into something deeper.

This means using what I’ve learned and done so far as a springboard for something broader. Mathochism the book would not be a faithful reproduction of Mathochism the blog. Parts of the blog would be in there, but probably not all.

True, I’m still half-way through this math quest, and there appears to be no end in sight for my college’s financial woes, but I have faith I will get to take the classes I need SOMEWHERE. Hopefully SOON.

In the meantime, I will use my ample leisure time (ha) setting up the research. So, this is a call for help. I am looking to talk to:

1) Women who, like me, have struggled with math phobia, whether they’ve overcome it or not.
2) Women who are majoring in math, or have degrees (from a BS on) in math, whether or not they went on to turn math into a career.
3) Women and men who teach math at the high school, college and grad school level.
4) Women and men who design math curricula, write math textbooks, design math tests and — yes — the dreaded word problems.
5) Women who are mathematicians, physicists, engineers or economists.

Tips about women in history who have contributed to math are also welcome, as are suggestions for talkative people who meet the above criteria.

I prefer to use full names, but will grant anonymity as needed. I just want to hear your math stories, and share your insight and experiences along with mine.

Can anyone out there help?

PS I will keep your contact info private should you contact me through this post, editing comments to remove e-mail addresses, etc. That’s one benefit of what I acknowledge is a deliberately draconian commenting policy.



  • Hi! I am a twenty-something woman who majored in math in undergrad (I got a BA) and now works with the author team for a preK-6 math curriculum. Primarily, I’m an editor, but I also do a fair amount of writing (including word problems). I’d be happy to answer some questions for you.

  • Thanks Katie! As you can see, I took your contact info off your comment, but I have saved it and will get in touch as soon as I have some coherent questions. I look forward to hearing your insights, and thanks so much for your help!

  • Yes, good call. I almost didn’t put it in, but I wasn’t sure how else to get it to you and I was hoping you’d do just what you did! Thanks, and looking forward to this.

  • I’m not a woman, but I was raised as one, and I’m now a physicist. I have Thoughts about math education and gender.

    Also, women you should look into: Maria Goeppert-Mayer. Anna Pell Wheeler. Emmy Noether. Emmy Noether Emmy Noether Emmy Noether. ❤

  • Your perspective as a trans man (that is what you are alluding to, correct?) would certainly add another layer of depth to my research! Is the unpublished e-mail you submitted a viable one? If so, can I contact you in future?
    Thanks also for the suggestions on women to study!

  • I’m also a trans man, minored in math and was a math tutor for about 8 years.

  • yes, yes, and yes; feel free to contact me.

  • Thanks, Grant. I will put your e-mail in my file!

  • Hi! I’m another 20-something with a BA in math; I went on to get an MS in Operations Research (which is pretty much devoted to solving *real* word problems!) I’m still looking for work, but I’d be happy to talk to you about my experiences with math, as a girl and women.

  • Great! Thank you!

  • Hey, I’m a 20-nothing current math undergrad and trans woman – I’d be happy to share 🙂

  • Hey, as I’ve probably mentioned, I’m a 20-something with a B.S. in math, currently working on my math Ph.D. I’ve also taught a lower-level undergraduate math class at my university for the past two semesters. While I prefer to remain anonymous, I’d be happy to answer some questions for you!

  • Thanks! I am planning to start working on Mathochism again after the holidays. I need to recover from surgery. But then, it will be on!

  • Hey, hope you’re feeling better. I’m 22 and in my final year of a BSc in maths (just maths, I’m in the UK). I’d love to talk to you if you’re interested 🙂

  • That sounds great! As soon as I am mobile, I will set things in motion!

  • Hey, this is late but if you still need people I’d be interested in helping out? I’m a 20-something maths PhD student in the UK (in abstract algebra, so pure maths representing \o/) with a BSc and Master’s in maths, interested in going into academia and having done some tutoring of undergrad classes for the past two years. Umm, my gender identity is Complicated but I was assigned female and although I currently id as genderqueer I will most likely never socially transition so I still have a lot of the Female Maths Experience.

    I’d also prefer to remain anonymous.

  • No, it’s not too late! I’ve had to shelve the book research for health reasons the last few months, but I still plan to do it. Thanks for your interest!

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