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Math Wiz of Westwood

UCLA egghead has no formula for Bruins' success

Posted: Thursday March 30, 2006 11:53AM; Updated: Thursday March 30, 2006 2:25PM
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Who knew that the woman behind Winnie Cooper would end up graduating summa cum laude from UCLA's Mathematics Department?
Who knew that the woman behind Winnie Cooper would end up graduating summa cum laude from UCLA's Mathematics Department?
Photo Courtesy of Danica McKellar
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By Rama Sobhani

There's a sign hanging from the top of UCLA's Bookstore -- "March Madness Get Into It!" -- but there isn't a student in sight who can read it. UCLA's normally sun-kissed campus is currently rain-drenched and the students that make the area around Pauley Pavilion a bustling meeting place for lunch or study sessions are nowhere to be found.

It's Spring Break this week in Westwood, and if it wasn't for a construction crew erecting a circus-like tent outside of Pauley for the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards on Saturday, this place would be a veritable ghost town. So much for celebrating the Bruins' first Final Four berth in over a decade.

While it's difficult to gauge student interest on a campus devoid of any to speak to, there are always loyal alumni to turn to, and no one exemplifies the baby blue and gold more than the gorgeous Danica McKellar (Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years), who graduated summa cum laude from the UCLA Mathematics Department in 1998. Since the show ended, McKellar has appeared in How I Met Your Mother and had a recurring role as Elsie Snuffin on The West Wing.

So with nothing going on in Westwood, we hit up Danica to talk some March Madness and mathematics.

SI On Campus: Hey Danica, what do think about your UCLA Bruins heading back to the Final Four for the first time since 1995?

Danika McKellar: I'm a proud, proud Bruin and thrilled for the team! And I may be no sports expert but I know a thing or two about loyalty and team spirit. This is awesome.

SIOC: I was just on campus and no one seemed as excited as you. What's up with that?

DM: Too much Facebook and iPod on campus?

SIOC: Yeah, you're probably right. So fess up: how many games did you really attend at Pauley?

DM: I attended a few games while I was there; mostly football though, and that's when our football team was beating USC every year and kicking butt.

SIOC: Ah, the good old days. Speaking of which, you graduated summa cum laude from the UCLA Mathematics Department, so can you offer any calculations beyond simple probability for UCLA winning this year?

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