Copyright

Stars and Scholars: Danica McKellar

Apr 07, 2011

Playing the role of Winnie Cooper on 'The Wonder Years,' Danica McKellar was the television crush of a whole generation of teen viewers. Today Danica is known for far more than her acting career. An accomplished mathematician and best-selling author, she's showing girls that there's nothing uncool about math.

View popular schools

By Douglas Fehlen

Danica McKellar Winnie Cooper The Wonder Years mathematician celebrity celeb smart genius college students grads graduates UCLA scholar Math Doesn

Making Education a Priority

Many stars who begin in television and film at a young age stay in the entertainment industry well into adulthood, often foregoing college and other more 'ordinary' pursuits. But Danica McKellar, who starred as the enigmatic Winnie Cooper in The Wonder Years, felt a calling beyond that of acting: Mathematics.

McKellar took a hiatus from television in the mid-1990s to attend UCLA. At the school, she proved herself to be not only a skilled actor, but also an extraordinarily gifted student. McKellar earned her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from UCLA in 1998, graduating with the highest possible honors.

While graduating summa cum laude is an impressive feat in and of itself, McKellar's academic impact extended far beyond the walls of UCLA classrooms - she also made a significant contribution to the greater world of mathematics. While at university, McKeller was a co-author of a math proof, completing new research on an original math theorem. Such an accomplishment is rare for an undergraduate, and McKellar was invited to present at a Statistical Mechanics conference and even speak before Congress.

Danica McKellar Winnie Cooper The Wonder Years mathematician celebrity celeb smart genius college students grads graduates UCLA scholar Math Doesn

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Sciences
  • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Dual Passions

Danica McKellar's passion for math is so intense that she has written about it so as to share it with others. Specifically, the television and academic star has penned a series of books on middle school math concepts for girls. Titles in the nonfiction series include Math Doesn't Suck, Kiss My Math and Hot X: Algebra Exposed. The goal of her books? To show girls that math doesn't have to be intimidating - and that they should never feel the need to hide how smart they are.

The reviews are in and everyone seems to love McKellar's books - and the author herself. The New York Times has called her a 'math superstar.' Ira Flatow of NPR's Science Friday has said, 'Danica knows how to speak math to kids in their own language.' And Charles Gibson of ABC's World News has called her 'the thinking girl's role model.'

Despite incredible success as an academic and an author, McKellar has not given up her first love: Acting. She has starred in more than 30 films and plays as well as made guest appearances on TV series like The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. McKellar explains her dual passions for math and acting this way: 'I've always had two sides to my personality - on the one hand I love logic and math and puzzles, and on the other, I just love to entertain people.'

Read about former 'Blossom' star Mayim Bialik, another UCLA grad, who has gone on to become a neuroscientist.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • MA in Communication
    • Master of Liberal Arts
    • MA in Science Writing
    • MS in Applied Economics
    • MS in Geographic Information Systems
    • MS in Bioinformatics

    What is your highest level of education?

    • BA: Criminal Justice
    • BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
    • BA: Liberal Studies
    • BA: Psychology
    • BA: Psychology - General
    • BS: Computer Science
    • AA: Criminal Justice
    • AA: Liberal Arts
    • AA: Business Administration
    • AA: Information Technology
    • AA: Cybersecurity

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path, Executive Leader Specialization
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice
    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path
    • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
    • Master of Science in Legal Studies
    • MS in Psychology
    • MBA
    • Master of Public Health
    • MBA - Human Resources
    • BS in Liberal Studies
    • BS in Business Administration
    • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Investment Career Focus Area
    • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
    • BS in Nutrition Science
    • BSFIN in Accelerated MS Finance
    • AAS in Business Administration - Business
    • AAS in Legal Support and Services
    • AAS in Business Administration
    • AAS in Business Administration - Food & Hotel Management
    • AAS in Business Admin-Office Management
    • AAS in Criminal Justice
    • Medical Office Administration Certificate
    • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
    • Graduate Certificate in Addictions
    • Graduate Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
    • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate
    • Pathway to Paralegal Postbaccalaureate Certificate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Doctor of Business Administration - Management
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Special Education
    • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Cognition and Instruction
    • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Industrial and Organizational Psychology
    • M.S. Psychology with an Emphasis in Gerontology
    • M.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Human Factors
    • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
    • MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
    • MS in Psychology: General Psychology
    • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
    • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
    • BS in Psychology
    • B.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance and Sports Psychology
    • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
    • BS in Early Childhood
    • BS in Elementary Education / Special Education (Dual Major)

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
    • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
    • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences
    • MSHS in Translational Microbiology
    • MA in Education and Human Development in Secondary Special Education and Transition Services
    • MA in Education and Human Development in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
    • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
    • BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences
    • BSHS in Biomedical Informatics

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Administration
    • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Educaiton
    • RN to BSN

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Science in Finance
    • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
    • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?