CHICAGO (WLS) -- A North Shore High School student with two gold medals in U.S. figure skating created a special program to inspire young women by combining her two passions.
She's helping them learn math, through movement.
Double U.S. figure skating gold medalist, Mayumi Suzue-Pan is no stranger to landing the right combination.
Now, she's using a unique combo of her own, fusing her love of skating and mathematics, to educate and empower young women.
"It's a different combination than what people would think," said Suzue-Pan, who founded S.K.A.T.E. for Girls.
The high school junior founded 'Solving Kinesthetically and Transforming Education' or S.K.A.T.E for Girls.
"Here, we're learning math and figure skating together," Suzue-Pan said.
Suzue-Pan said her mission is to bridge the gender gap in science, techology, engineering and math or STEM, and make figure skating accessible for all while having fun.
"During the off-ice period, we try to incorporate a kinesthetic exercise that combines math and figure skating and then we go on the ice and do a similar math exercise that connects the topic of the week and during tutoring we kind of tie it all together," Suzue-Pan said.
The inspiration came from a project by an MIT student who combined dancing and math.
"So then I thought, why not make a combination of math and figure skating together," Suzue-Pan said.
The competitive figure skater said through donations, her organization was able to kick-start their first free six-week program with 15 middle school girls at the Centennial Ice Rink in Wilmette.
"A lot of kids that don't like math seem to find it fun through this program and I think that's pretty cool," said 13-year-old Milena Cruz-Garbo.
"I've met a lot of new people," said 13-year-old Christina Salvi. "It's really fun and I'm learning stuff I would be learning in 8th grade and I'm only in 7th grade so it's really awesome."
Parents of students in the program said the math and movement mash-up does more than educate, but also motivates middle schoolers.
"That's what the takeaway is from this program, I feel is just women empowerment and just everybody working together to help lift each other," said parent Salima Visram.
Suzue-Pan said this may be her organization's first program, but she hopes to grow S.K.A.T.E. for Girls.
"I really just hope they realize that math can be fun and it can be rewarding," Suzue-Pan said.
That they have a place where they are welcome and that they know they can do math and they can skate too -- so others, like her, can find their place through their passions.