Fremd student expands mission to encourage girls to pursue STEM careers

Fremd student expands mission to encourage girls to pursue STEM careers

Ruby Arun, a sophomore at William Fremd High School in Palatinate, expands her mission to inspire girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Ruby was recently recognized by the Board of Directors of Palatine Township Elementary District 15 after her organization Mission: MathMinds donated more than 2,000 books to district schools. Her $20,000 donation was part of the district’s STEM awareness campaign, which raised more than 15,000 books worth approximately $160,000.

This winter, the Mission: MathMinds mentoring team visited several elementary/middle schools and nursing programs in the District 15 communities to raise awareness of STEM.

Ruby, 15, from Inverness, is a first-generation Native American with a passion for math and has been part of school math teams since third grade. She created the nonprofit Mission: MathMinds to get more interest in math at a younger age so more girls are interested in pursuing STEM subjects.

Last year, her nonprofit organization hosted numerous STEM awareness events for girls, including a national conference on female role models in STEM fields in Arlington Heights. Ruby has created a platform for female STEM role models on her website,, which posts videos of interviews with leaders.

“We’re planning our national conference for March, around spring break,” Ruby said. “We (will) have about eight to ten women leaders speaking about their experiences. Middle school and high school students are the target audience we are targeting.”


A virtual “Connecting the Dots in Medicine Workshop” will be held on February 6 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. with female leaders from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Michigan. Register at

Ruby Arun, middle, sophomore at Fremd High School, and her team of Mission: MathMinds Mentors were recently recognized by the Palatine Township Elementary District 15 Board of Education for donating more than 2,000 books to district schools.
– Courtesy of Ruby Arun

Ruby’s book campaign is not over yet. To date, her nonprofit organization has distributed more than 13,000 books to District 15, Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54, Chicago Public Schools, and Ukrainian refugees in Poland, France, and Italy. It organizes book trips in partnership with the YMCA Buehler in the Palatinate, the YMCA Foglia on Lake Zurich and the YMCA Alfred Campanelli in Schaumburg.

“Our goal for this year is 50,000 books,” Ruby said.

college resource

Waubonsee Community College’s Latinx Resource Center is hosting free learning events this spring to help families and students navigate the college landscape.

The events are open to parents of high school and Waubonsee College students and will be held at the Aurora Downtown Campus, 18 S. River St.

“Colegio de Empoderamiento” sessions, which focus on the importance of higher education, will be bilingual in Spanish and English. They will take place on February 25th, March 25th and April 29th from 9.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. Families learn how to find appropriate resources and represent themselves. Registration is required.

This summer, the center will host a Latinx Summer Institute for first-time Waubonsee College students. Running August 14-18, the five-day program teaches Latinx students what it takes to succeed in college and how to choose a career path. The program will also connect them to important resources. Registration is required.

More than 30% of Waubonsee students identify as Hispanic. The Latinx Resource Center opened last spring as a one-stop shop for resources, support services, and educational experiences. It offers students and community members a place to learn about Latinx culture, heritage, and traditions.

“We value the diverse identities of our families, their roots and their cultures, and we prepare them to engage our students, which often begins at home,” said Franklin Ortega-Palaguachi, the center’s manager.

For more information or to register for these events, visit

cultural fair

The Northbrook Community Commission will present a cultural fair in partnership with the North Suburban YMCA on February 26th.

The event will be held at Y, 2705 Techny Road in Northbrook from 3pm to 5pm and is free and open to the public. It will feature artistic performances, musical performances, dance performances, educational/information tables, henna artists, handicrafts, a karate demonstration and food tastings from different cultures.

“We previously hosted for three years, and this year we promise to provide our community with a meaningful, educational and fun experience for all ages,” said Kim Nyren, director of community investments and events for the North Suburban YMCA. “We pride ourselves on being a home for the community to learn, experience and appreciate the power of our diversity.”

It is the first time since the pandemic that the cultural fair is back in town.

Visit for more information.

Jewish Studies

Oakton College of Des Plaines is launching a new speaker series highlighting Jewish history, culture and contributions.

“With the emergence of hate groups, it is critical that we learn more about Jewish history and other religions and cultures so that we can better understand one another and appreciate our diversity and perspectives,” said Wendy Adele-Marie, professor of history and coordinator for Jewish Studies.

Oakton’s Jewish Studies Program will offer the series of free virtual events open to the public. Presentations include:

• 9 Feb – The Nazi’s Granddaughter: How I Found My Grandfather Was a War Criminal, 11 am with Silvia Foti, author of the memoir “Storm in the Land of the Rain: A Mother’s Death Wish Becomes Her Daughter’s Nightmare.” Report Check out

• March 2 – Happiness Thinks, 6:00 pm with Rabbi Meir Shimon Moscowitz, Regional Director of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois, Chief Rabbi of Lubavitch Chabad of Northbrook and longtime educator at the Jewish Learning Institute. Sign up at

• March 23 – Nursing and the American Civil War, 11:00 am with historian Brad Stone, who highlights the contributions of key Jewish figures in medicine during the Civil War who helped shape the development of modern nursing, advanced hospital systems, and to forge new concepts of treating the mental and emotional wounds of war. Sign up at

• May 2 – Marilyn Monroe and Judaism, 11 am with April VeVea, author of Marilyn Monroe: A Day in the Life. Sign up at

• May 9 – Jews in America today, 11 am with Rabbi Kenneth Berger, who was a member of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Board of Rabbis. Sign up at

For more information, see

teacher diversity

The Illinois State Board of Education’s Education Career Pathway Grants prepare 10,805 prospective high school teachers statewide.

Launched in 2020, the program is designed to help school districts better meet local teacher needs. The scholarships provide classroom experience for students from a variety of backgrounds and aim to increase the diversity of the state’s faculty — 45% of students in the Pathway program identify as Black or Hispanic, compared to just 14% of current teachers.

Illinois increased student enrollment in preschool programs by 41% — from 8,534 in 2017 to 12,069 in 2021. Statewide schools reported 2,139 vacancies as of October 2021, which focused on underserved communities and bilingual and special education.

A total of 171 high schools now offer Education Career Pathways.

The state board of education has provided $18 million in grants for these programs, which allow students to get a head start in teacher preparation through hands-on learning, double credits, certificates and mentorship.

Another round of scholarships will be awarded early this year.

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