I came across a great article profiling some of the women involved with launching the Curiosity rover into space and landing on Mars. In particular, I love the following quote by Ann Devereaux, a flight systems engineer on the Curiosity team:
When she speaks about her job to young students, she tells them she hates math, according to a profile on NASA’s website. “Who ever said you have to like math to be an engineer?” she adds, understanding that a dislike of math keeps many kids from exploring STEM career. “What’s interesting are the cool applications you can do that need some math applied to them to make them work.”
It's not just about learning obscure, theoretical math - it's about applying math to real world solutions. This is something that I try to get across to the youth that I work with, but especially young women that tend to be more easily deterred from math than young men. Showing people the cool applications of math, instead of just problems and equations, is a much better way to get people excited about science.