Second Annual “Ladies Love L’Hopital Luncheon”
By Hannah Fuchs
On Thursday, March 7, White Plains High School’s female calculus students gathered in B1 for the second annual “Ladies Love L’Hopital” Luncheon, organized by Ms. Phillips. The luncheon serves to honor and celebrate young women taking high level math courses, as women are (unfortunately) statistically proven to be the minority in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, majors and careers.
The catered event, complete with pink tablecloths and custom t-shirts, featured moving speeches by Ms. Phillips herself, as well as keynote speaker Linda Fisher. Ms. Fisher has decades of experience studying and working in STEM. She shared experiences she has faced working in male-dominated work environments and reflected on her love for math and its immense usefulness in our society. Ms. Fisher also “warmed up the crowd” by telling a few math jokes and teaching her favorite childhood card game, “24," in which four random cards are pulled from a deck and the player has to utilize mathematical skills to arrive at the number 24.
Ms. Phillips delivered a powerful speech, encouraging female math students to continue pursuing their passions and to stand up and assert their intelligence. She also shared several statistics about how far our society needs to come in integrating women into STEM careers. In one of the most striking parts of her speech, Ms. Phillips revealed, “Women, especially women of color, are generally underrepresented in math and STEM-related disciplines. Although we’ve come a long way, although it is the case here at WPHS that our classes at the upper levels of mathematics are about 50/50, studies show that even women who are successful at mathematics at the high school level don’t continue on in STEM-related disciplines when they get out of high school. Only 15% of all engineers and 25% of computer programmers in the workforce are women. We still have some work to do.”
Also enjoyed at the luncheon were several activities organized by students, including a game of Kahoot, paper folding to create three-dimensional objects and writing motivational messages on paper dolls in honor of International Women's’ Day. Overall, the luncheon was an immense success and uplifting experience for the approximately 70 women in calculus, including myself!