Our Islands, Our Future

Driven by her love for math and desire to give back to the community, 17-year-old Jasmine Doan founded the Maui Math Circle. She completed the first year of the project with the support of Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology Project; her school, Seabury Hall; and the new Puu Kukui Elementary School in Wailuku, where the community service program is held. It works like this: Middle and high school students like Doan and her peers get together once a month to teach advanced math concepts and problem solving skills to 3rd, 4th- and 5th-graders during after-school hours. There are as many as 15 volunteers matched up with 50 to 75 younger students.

Doan describes the project as a math enrichment, not a tutoring session. “It’s supposed to be for students who really want to learn more about advanced math. We try to make it fun and encourage the students to be creative in how they approach math,” she said. Doan has long enjoyed math, having finished Advanced Placement Calculus in the 6th grade. She hopes to work either as a computer science engineer or an entrepreneur, like her parents, Jason and Shirley Doan of Kahului. “I just love math. I think a lot of people don’t see that math is such a creative process,” she said. “I like how it’s kind of like a puzzle.”

Heading into her senior year, Doan serves as a competitor and coach for middle and high school-aged students in a variety of math competitions. As captain of her school’s math team, Doan spearheaded a win in state competition this past May. Maui Math Circle is on summer break and will return in September when Doan will serve on an advisory board with the goal of continuing the project even after she leaves the island for college.

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