MISS was created in 1990 to address a nationwide concern for a shortage of female students, primarily Latinas, opting for careers in STEM. Research has shown that success in mathematics is key to choosing STEM majors in college. Designed particularly to serve females from underrepresented ethnic groups, for the last twenty-five summers, MISS has been providing an intensive mathematics experience. Girls from local high schools attend MISS courses for four weeks during the summer in college preparatory mathematics at the Algebra II level and above. Students meet daily from 8 am – 3 pm, Monday through Friday at no cost to students. The MISS program also features guest speakers who are successful women in business, education, or industry, many of whom are Latina.
In the short-term, the aim of MISS is to support students in their study of mathematics, focusing on assisting them to successfully complete the necessary courses required for college admission and eventual college graduation. Research has shown successfully completing high school mathematics courses in geometry and algebra enhances the probability of success in college. In the long-term MISS aims to encourage Latinas to take and complete calculus at the college level, thus creating for them access to university STEM majors such as Chemistry, Engineering, Geology, Biology, Physics, and Mathematics.
· Since 1990, 1,575 students have completed MISS. Of those, 1,019 (65%) were Hispanic.
· Over 98% of the participants go on to college with about 20% choosing STEM majors and 1/3 enrolling at California State University, Fullerton.
· MISS students enrolled at CSU Fullerton are tracked, and have successfully completed college at a rate over 90%.
· In 2014, students took the Second Year Algebra Readiness Test for the first time with an average score of 17.6 out of 45. On the post-test, the average was 26.8, a gain of 63%.
· The same students took the Mathematical Analysis Readiness Test with a pre-test average of 7.8 out of 45. This was for material they were going to learn during the summer and would later cover during their Algebra II class in the fall and subsequent spring semesters. On the post-test the students scored an average of 13.4, a gain of 105%.