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Actress and published mathematician, Danica McKellar, will help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital based in Memphis, Tennessee, in the fight against childhood cancer by joining the hospital’s Math-A-Thon fund-raising program as its national spokesperson.
McKellar, best known for her portrayal of Winnie Cooper on the hit television show The Wonder Years, most recently made headlines when she returned to primetime with a recurring role on the Emmy Award-winning series The West Wing. Not only an accomplished actress, writer, producer and award-winning director, McKellar is a firm believer in the importance of education. As an undergraduate student at UCLA, McKellar was a member of the UCLA Mathematics Scholars Honors program, where she co-authored a research paper that helped solve a new problem in the area of statistical mechanics, now known as the Chayes-McKellar-Winn theorem. Upon completing the project, McKellar received the honor of lecturing (as the only undergraduate) on the new mathematical discoveries confirmed by her research project at the 78th Annual Statistical Mechanics Conference at Rutgers University. She was also invited to speak to a subcommittee of Congress on the importance of women in math and science.
“When St. Jude asked me to participate in their Math-A-Thon program, I knew it was a perfect fit,” remarked McKellar. “The program allows me to bring together two causes that are of great importance to me – promoting education and giving back. Not only does the program promote good math skills, it also helps teach kids about the importance of helping others. St. Jude is an amazing institution, and I am honored to support the hospital which helps children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases.”
During the Math-A-Thon fund-raising season, McKellar will have her own section of the mathathon.org Web site where she will help children with their math problems and offer example problems and solutions to help kids get a better understanding of the math they’re doing. She will also have targeted messages for teachers, parents and event coordinators to motivate them about the program.
In addition, McKellar will participate in Public Service Announcements and a Video News Release to help publicize the fundraiser. She will also speak on behalf of St. Jude and the Math-A-Thon program when attending math and science education conferences.
“I am very excited about this new partnership and I’m looking forward to spreading the message that math is fun and important, whenever I can,” said McKellar. “Kids at every math skill level can participate in Math-a-Thon, which I know will help them not only become better math students but have fun helping the children at St. Jude at the same time.”
The Math-A-Thon program began in the late 1970s – now in its 26th year – the supplemental math program is offered free to schools across the country. In the 2005-2006 academic year, over 26,000 schools nationwide are expected to participate. Children in grades K-9 can participate in the program by working out problems with an interactive CD or a math Funbook. To coordinate a Math-A-Thon, or for more information, call 1-800-FUNBOOK, or visit www.mathathon.org.
About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital:
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization.