Thursday, August 2, 2007

Danica McKellar - Who Says a Beautiful Actress Can't be Smart (and law abiding)?

Do you remember The Wonder Years, a family comedy/drama from the early 90's? Well, do you remember Winnie Cooper and the torch Kevin carried for her though out the entire series? She was cute and pouty, his best friend, and the girl of his dreams. Winnie Cooper was portrayed by Danica McKellar. Danica played the part so well because she was a cute and pouty teen. Thing was when I watched her I knew she'd grow into a breathtaking woman. I can't say I worried or thought much about the actress's future. I respected her acting and watched the show faithfully but that is where it ended.

Recently, with all the publicity about young starlets gone bad it brings a smile to my face to tell you that Ms. Danica McKellar is now 32 years old. Acting is just one facet of her life. She is a well-rounded woman who graduated summa cum laude from UCLA's mathematics's department.

That alone is enough to make me want to shake her hand but there is more. As a celebrated mathematician, she co-authored a groundbreaking physics theorem that bears her name, the Chayes-McKellar-Winn Theorem.

Danica is working on a book called Math Doesn't Suck, targeted at girls. The book is filled with real-life math word problems that girls can relate to, graphics and quizes just like the magazines girls read. There are practical tips for avoiding brain freeze on test day and real life stories of girls who excel in math.

She tells NewsWeek magazine that she always loved math but like most girls found it hard in junior high school. This is the age that most girls give up, thinking it's a subject for white, nerdy boys. Lucky for Danica, she had a teacher in high school who used humor and some of the same techniques she's passing along in her book to motivate her in math class. In college she felt right at home in the math department.

Her book, which will be out in August, has already been given top marks by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. "She's a terrific role model," says NCTM's president Francis Fennell.
On the subject of young girls, Danica says, " I want to tell girls that cute and dumb isn't as good as cute and smart."

I couldn't agree more.

14 comments:

Todd said...

How very cool. We need to get this one for Natasha!

Lisa McGlaun said...

Maybe we can get a signed copy..how cool would that be?

The Artist said...

Have enjoyed reading your blog.

Lisa McGlaun said...

Thanks, Artist. I'm glad you like it. Keep coming back.

Vienne said...

Great accomplishments you've highlighted about Danica. I'm so uplifted to see she's embraced her smarts and encourages other girls to do so. Breath of fresh air in the staleness of 'young Hollywood' gone sideways!

La delirante said...

Wow! Yes, I remember her and The wonder years! I had never thought about what she was doing after the TV show. How interesting to know! Yes, with all these young celebrities gone bad it is interesting to know that not all of them are shallow.

Gina said...

Hey, Lisa, I just heard you about getting a signed copy... I have a suggestion for you:
Why don't you demand it in your place? Here's the site:
http://eventful.com/events/E0-001-005250858-2

Wadeone said...

You know, my wife and I were talking about "Winnie Cooper" just two weeks ago wondering whatever happened to the actress who portrayed her. Great story, great blog. Keep up the good work!

Lisa McGlaun said...

Gina,
That's an interesting website. I didn't even know it existed. Thanks. I'll look into that.

Lisa McGlaun said...

Wade,
Glad I could help out and provide the serendipitous information. Thanks for reading and for the nice compliments. Come back any time.

OMYWORD! said...

Man, too bad this was not considered by the sensationalist MSM as the sensation that it is. Helping anybody, but especially women to see math as fun is a really great thing. Thanks for digging this up out of the pile of other "news". :-)

Lisa McGlaun said...

You're welcome...thanks for commenting, my friend.

Bob Johnson said...

Get-outta-town, little winnie is 32 wow, and she is successful, thanks for the update.

Cindy said...

That is wonderful! I love it when people create positive things like this...I know she'll help a lot of young girls with her book. (Which I could have used while i was in school!)