# RBC's support expands reach of UBC Aboriginal math camps in rural BC

June 19, 2013

About 100 Aboriginal children in rural BC will be able to attend math summer camps hosted by the University of British Columbia thanks to a $30,000 gift from the RBC Foundation. The camps, organized by the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) and UBC Mathematics, are a key part of the University's efforts to foster an interest in mathematics among Aboriginal K-12 students.

In 2010-2011 less than 10 per cent of Aboriginal students in British Columbia completed Principles of Math (POM) 12, which is required level to enter university science programs. Students in rural schools can find it even more challenging to access mathematics resources to complete the requirement. RBC’s gift will help expand math outreach into rural areas.

“Math skills are very important,” says Melania Alvarez, BC Education Coordinator at PIMS. “If students want to pursue a career in the sciences, whether they want to be video game programmers or physicists, they need good math skills. Most importantly, students feel empowered when they excel in math.”

Over the past six years, PIMS and UBC have worked with approximately 1,000 Aboriginal students, 200 teachers at First Nations schools, and many public schools with a substantial percentage of Aboriginal students. Their efforts are increasing graduation rates for Aboriginal students, and providing them with a solid foundation in mathematics.

“We now have Aboriginal students taking undergraduate studies in mathematics. We have aboriginal students qualifying for pre-medicine and nursing programs. A number of our students have pre-qualified for apprenticeship training,” says Alvarez. “Mathematics can open a world of possibilities to Aboriginal students.”

Alvarez accepted RBC’s cheque in support of the Aboriginal Math Outreach Program during a ceremony at Britannia Secondary School, site of one of the urban outreach programs. RBC representative Kim Roberts presented the cheque. Several students who successfully completed the program at Britannia also attended, including two students accepted to UBC this year.

"RBC is committed to helping improve the quality of life for individuals, families and communities. We are proud to support the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences and the summer math camps for Aboriginal students,” says Roberts. “We believe these camps will make a meaningful difference for the youth involved, not only by helping maintain their math skills during the summer break, but also by encouraging a love for learning.”

The Aboriginal math camps will be held in Mount Currie, Lytton, Sooke and 100 Mile House this summer, with more locations to be added next year.

For more information about Aboriginal summer camps at PIMS:

http://www.pims.math.ca/educational/aboriginal-student-summer-camps

Video: http://www.mathtube.org/content/emerging-aboriginal-scholars-summer-camp

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