Joely To

Founder and CEO of Pioneer Maths

Hi!! I’m Joely and I’m a Maths student at Warwick University. I am also the Founder of a maths company, called Pioneer Maths. I’ve met many people who tell me “Maths is boring!” Or “Maths is too hard!”

But trust me – once you start asking questions and learn how it applies toyour life, you will be amazed! I see Maths as one big giant puzzle. You can explore a maths problem, get stuck in it and find lots of creative ways to get to the answer! During that process, you often start to ask your OWN questions and find yourself looking for more information. Therefore, it’s almost like one puzzle leads to another puzzle and you’re constantly solving these small ‘mysteries’!

When I was in Year 12, I noticed that I was 1 of only 2 girls in my Further Maths class. So, I thought: “Why don’t I try to change this? So I set up Pioneer Maths, which aims to encourage more girls to study Maths. I started by running events with schools. I reached out to companies to provide work experience to students aged 11-18. We focus on very fun, hands-on tasks – I think we all learn best by doing things, rather than just reading about them! And it’s super important you have fun too.

Now, we’ve reached over 3000 students across the world and have been lucky to be featured in The Guardian, The Times and BBC Radio, as well as entering 8 international awards. You never know where maths can take you – dive into the infinite puzzle and keep exploring! You’ve got this!

Joely is our Smashing Maths box champion.

I love being a scientist because...

I can meet and learn from some awesome people who have achieved crazy things!

The most awesome thing I have done so far is...

Run a maths competition for over 1500 students where we got Bobby Seagull, a popular TV mathematician as our judge!

My heroes are...

Maryam Mirzakhani - a legendary Iranian mathematician who was the first (and only!) female winner of the Fields Medal! (Which is basically the Nobel Prize for maths)

Advice I would give my 7 year old self...

Keep asking questions! Explore and enjoy anything that seems interesting to you.

At primary school my favourite thing to do was...

Do lots of art, sing and take part in competitions!

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