February 2021

The Stigma Around Mathematics

Editor's Note

WISAARKHU aims to provide a diversity, not necessarily a jointly exhaustive collection, of perspectives on a chosen theme related to the learning and teaching of Mathematics. It is a magazine for inspiring, for creating awareness, for sharing experiences, for communicating, for connecting, and for reflecting.

It is not a research journal. It does not purport to endorse any particular opinion or approach to the learning and teaching of mathematics. Its readership is intended for all from across the globe with an interest in mathematics.

Each perspective expressed in the content of WISAARKHU is that of the author. It does not purport to reflect the opinions of the editor or Stellenbosch University or the affiliations of the authors.

Each theme aligned with one of the quarterly Psychology of Abstract Mathematics discussions. The choice of each discussion theme is inspired by a challenge encountered in the learning and teaching of mathematics;

In this way the theme ‘Competition or Collaboration in Mathematics’ evolved for the first volume of WISAARKHU. There are four topics each speaking to a sub-theme of the overall theme that evolved from the contributions, namely, perspectives within and beyond mathematics, voices of students, impact on the self, influence on learning and teaching of mathematics. Throughout the magazine you will meet students, mathematicians, teachers, psychologists, educationalists, and others interested in mathematics.

No matter your interest in or experience of Mathematics, I hope you will read this magazine acknowledging the intention with which it has been written.

Prof. Ingrid Rewitzky


TOPIC 1: Are Mathematics Skills Important in the Workplace and Everyday Life?

What can you do with a Math degree?

In this article, Ellen Xiaoyue Sun describes how her studies in mathematics provide the perfect support for her career as a quantitative research analyst at JP Morgan Asset Management. Read more about her experiences and see whether a career in finance may be of interest to you.

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My Math Journey

In this article, Mark Liu touches on the benefits of having a maths background for working as a computer programmer at a start-up specializing in self-driving cars.

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Math as a Language

Jianing Qi describes his progress with learning the language of mathematics. He shares his personal journey and valuable insights into how this dynamic language has been relevant to his world.

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My Journey

Sivanagi Reddy Modugula shares with the readers his motivation to do a masters program in mathematics. He highlights how mathematics has given him the skills to excel and encourages students to explore interdisciplinary fields to gain a competitive edge in the job market

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Mathematics, a chameleon

With a solid foundation in mathematics, Lucy Zuo describes how she has been able to transition between different fields in her career thus far – from staffing and talent acquisition to educational technologies and data science.

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TOPIC 2: Stereotypes: An Obstacle or Trigger to Succeed with Mathematics?


Tristan Barnard encourages young students of Mathematics to persist through challenge and hardship, to master the discipline of mind that sees all failure as part...

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My dream to be a mathematician

Senior lecturer in the mathematics department at Rhodes university, Dr Andriantiana, shares his inspiring journey to his current dream job. In this article he shares...

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The 3 Students

Three high school students who have worked extremely hard to break the stigma that one is either good at maths or not. They share their...

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About the Cover

In this piece Nino Mekanarishvili tried to express her perception of Mathematics in an artistic way. It symbolises how mathematical ideas can grow and give us an opportunity to experience their beauty.

TOPIC 3: Can we break the Stigma Humanizing Mathematics?

TOPIC 4: On Teaching Mathematics

Teaching in and as a society

Professor Geo Quinot is clear that academic institutions should increase collaboration in teaching and learning in order to tackle complex social problems.

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The Battle of the Memes

Jonathan Shock writes about a different, but very important competition taking place in society today – the competition for the mental space to think about...

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Growing Up A Mathematician

Lourens van Niekerk shares with us his inspiring story of his mathematics journey. He shares with us his initial interest in mathematics that started in...

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More coming soon!