Meet the Director
Jessica Christianson earned her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Western Washington University, Masters in Elementary Education from Antioch University, and Masters in Education in Leadership in STEM Education from University of Southern California. She began her teaching career in 2004.
Girls Rock Math launched in the summer of 2012. My idea was to create a safe space, and an exciting place for girls to fall in love with math. As a classroom teacher for 10 years, I knew this was something girls needed and I hoped that by providing the kinds of activities I loved as a kid (art, fashion, nature, history, building things) and integrating it with math and a big confidence-boost, girls would find themselves eager to take on math challenges in school later on. I had no clue if my idea would take off or if anyone would even be interested in a math camp for girls. I waited eagerly as each registration trickled in. They came in slowly at first, but before I knew it we had a wait list. I remember all of those first campers so well. In fact, our first-ever registrant just began her first summer as a CIT in 2018 and now will be a counselor in 2020. We've had many campers graduate into counselor positions over the years and it's been amazing to see their passion for STEM develop so deeply!
I was very fortunate that in my first summer, I partnered with I-Labs (Institute for Learning and Brain Science) at the University of Washington for our first research study, and were able to be part of another one in 2014. Every decision I've made has been linked to the research that's being done around gender and STEM equity. From the songs we sing to the games we play, the heart of each curricular decision begins with looking at research about what makes girls want to explore these topics. From those first meetings at I-Labs, to our current planning for summer 2020, all of the decisions that have created Girls Rock Math are evidence-based and come from my deep-seeded desire to see girls grow into strong, capable women. We have had over 3,500 campers come through our program in the last several years. I hope each one of them knows how brave and bold they are!
I'm feel so incredibly proud that a small idea has become something that thousands of kids have been able to try for themselves. It shows me that absolutely anything can happen and anything is possible. Sometimes people look at Girls Rock Math and think we must be a huge corporation. I smile as I write this because I'm sitting on my couch with my feet propped up on the coffee table, which is my favorite way to work. Corporate HQ is my living room most days. Girls Rock Math is local. It's woman owned. I'm a solo-mom working my hardest to provide a good life for my son and provide what I think is an amazing program to families in the Seattle area. Girls Rock Math is always looking for ways to be better, to grow and reach more campers, and to keep it running strong. If you want to help or have ideas for us, please send me a note. I'm appreciative of feedback and want to hear it. I've continued to think of myself as a teacher, as that was my chosen profession for so many years. I'm finally settling into the idea that indeed, I'm not only an educator, but also an entrepreneur. I'm interested in partnering with other moms, other people in program development and folks who have a passion for STEM and gender equity. For the future, I hope to see as many girls as possible come and learn, play and find beauty and joy in mathematics. This means building on the solid programs that we know are successful and meet the high standards we've set for ourselves while continuing to develop and grow. I can't wait for your family to be a part of this program in 2020. Thanks for joining us!
Jessica Wexler, M.A.Ed
Meet our Team
I started with Girls Rock Math in 2016. I'd come from working summer camps and youth programs at the YMCA after graduating from Western Washington University with my BA in Community and Outdoor Recreation and Spanish. I love seeing girls develop to their full potential and being part of a program that helps all girls see that they can achieve anything. I've had various roles at Girls Rock Math, but by far, the best part has been utilizing my love of art to create graphics and illustrations for the program. Last year I wrote and illustrated the book Hypatia: Explorer of Geometry for use in the curriculum. It has been incredible to see the response from the campers when they learn that women have been doing math for over 2,400 years. Aside from creating marketing materials for GRM, I am the Operations Coordinator and in-house Graphic Designer. I help set up the camps, get the supplies organized and throughout the year work on creating everything from stickers to give to the campers to advertising brochures.
When I'm not working, I can be found rock climbing wherever the weather permits across the state or in the gym. This past summer I was the first woman and sixth person to complete one of the hardest climbs in Washington State (City Park, Index). I believe in working hard and finding your passion. I know that all of the girls who come to Girls Rock Math have endless potential and like to know that in a small way, Girls Rock Math is part of helping them find it.
Operations Coordinator & Graphic Designer
I'm a retired teacher who took time off to create and manage a quickly developing and energetic group of three. As a result, I've spent a lot of time advocating and volunteering in schools. I've worn a variety of hats- coach, chaperone, room rep, Board member, PTA head- to name a few.
Prior to motherhood I worked in education, both private and public settings, for many years as an elementary school teacher. My Masters in Education has been useful on both sides of the conference table - as a parent and as a teacher.
As a graduate of a woman's college I know firsthand the importance of providing a safe space for girls to explore and learn, to find their voice, and to challenge themselves. Art history was my major, so for me, Girls Rock Math is the perfect combination of things I love - math, art and female empowerment.
When I'm not on the sidelines of a soccer field or taking my oldest to her art classes, I can be found giving a tour at the Frye Museum, reading a social justice book, walking my dogs Betty White and Gracie Allen, or playing tennis.
My role at Girls Rock Math is to work with families, campers, staff and the greater community to help our camp operations run smoothly and to thrive. Whether it's helping a family work on their scholarship application or doing outreach at local high schools about our Leadership Program, my role is to connect our greater community to our program in any way possible. I look forward to working with you and your family in 2020!