Danica McKellar Announces Dancing with the Stars Team NameBy: Shana Norris - March 10, 2014
Danica McKellar, of The Wonder Years fame, has joined the cast of Dancing with the Stars Season 18. McKellar will pair up with Ukranian professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy and after considerable discussion on Twitter, the two have announced their team name: Team Vanica.
Chmerkovskiy is the brother of Maksim Chmerkovskiy who has made numerous DWTS appearances over the years, both as a contestant and as a guest dancer. Maksim will re-join the cast in Season 18, partnering with Olympic ice dancer Meryl Davis.
McKellar became a household name in the late 1980s when she starred as Winnie Cooper on the television series The Wonder Years. The show ended after a six season run, and although McKellar has done some acting since, she’s spent a fair amount of time studying math and writing books.
In 1998, McKellar graduated summa cum laude with a degree in mathematics from University of California Los Angeles.
“I love that stuff,” McKellar has said of her fondness for math. “I love continuous functions and proving if functions are continuous or not.”
While at UCLA, McKellar and a fellow student partnered with Professor Lincoln Chayes to prove a property that would indicate when the magnetic field would line up in a certain direction. The result of their extensive research was a published paper and the Chayes-McKellar-Winn theorem.
From there, McKellar segued into writing books as a means of encouraging girls to succeed in mathematics. In 2008 she published Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail and quickly followed that up with Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who’s Boss in 2009, Hot X: Algebra Exposed in 2010, and Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape in 2012.
According to Eilleen Pollack in her New York Times article “Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?” McKellar “may well have done more to encourage girls to stick with math than any government task force.”
But for now, McKellar will pursue slightly less academic ventures as she heads to the Dancing with the Stars ballroom.
Image via Danica McKellar, Instagram