Media Release – April 28, 2021
Canadian Mathematical Society

A Message from Termeh Kousha: History Was Made by the 2021 Canada EGMO Team!

You Did It, Girls!

Over a week ago Canada participated in the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO) and Kaylee Ji became the first Canadian female student to win a gold medal at the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad. This is a great victory for the Canadian community, for girls in math and STEM, and for the CMS.

Since my appointment as the Executive Director of the Canadian Mathematical Society, one of my principal missions has been to get more girls and women involved in mathematics. The CMS sent the first Canadian Team to participate in the EGMO in April 2018; in 2019, we secured funding for a training camp at the Fields Institute to help EGMO Canada Team prepare better. In 2020, despite the pandemic, we managed to secure funding and organise one training camp at the Fields Institute for the team members a few weeks before the competition and another all girls’ training camp for Olympiad hopefuls in August. We believed in the girls and our objective was, and is, to have them believe in themselves despite the prejudice and obstacles that they might encounter along their path. The all girls’ training camp and participation in an all girls’ competition made them feel like, in the words of Dorette Pronk, they are valuable members of the mathematical community and that they belonged to math and STEM.

I would be remiss not to mention Dorette Pronk, who, since the first participation of the Canadian Team at EGMO, led, trained and accompanied the girls and gave so much of her time and her knowledge to get us where we are, the first Gold Medal.

I would also like to thank the talented young EGMO Olympians for their hard work and for setting a positive model for other girls to participate in math and STEM activities.

Thank you to this year’s leader, deputy leader and deputy observer, Mariya Sardarli, Elnaz Hessami Pilehrood, and Anna Krokhine. Thank you to everyone who was involved in the training of the team and special thanks to CMS Competitions Manager Sarah Watson who takes care of the organisation and logistics every year.

Canada’s participation in EGMO and training of the team has been possible through the generous help of our sponsors: NSERC, RBC Foundation Future Launch, University of Waterloo, Actuarial Foundation of Canada, Fields Institute and the Samuel Beatty Fund. I sincerely thank these sponsors for their contribution to the advancement of girls in mathematics.

To mark this great occasion and encourage a greater participation of girls in math activities, the Canadian Mathematical Society is now offering a limited number of free registrations to girls wishing to participate in the Canadian Mathematical Gray Jay Competition (CMGC) and in Canadian Open Mathematical Challenge (COMC), which is the principal qualifier for Canadian Olympians. Let’s go, girls!

Termeh Kousha (PhD)
Executive Director
Canadian Mathematical Society