GROW: strengthening the mathematical workforce

Project: Research project

Project Details


Overview: We will hold a weekend-long conference for women undergraduates in the mathematical science, designed to encourage women studying mathematics in the USA to continue their mathematical education at the graduate level. The conference, titled Graduate Research Opportunities in Mathematics (GROW), is modeled on the first such conference we organized in October 2015, which attracted 50 undergraduates from across the mathematical sciences and a wide variety of institutions, and will bring together 80 women undergraduates interested in pure and applied mathematics. As in the first iteration, GROW II will combine research talks, panel discussions, mentoring in groups and individually, a banquet with speech by a keynote speaker, and plenty of time for social activities. We will also create a framework for this activity to continue into the future, not only at Northwestern but also at other institutions. Ours is not the only program in this direction. For this reason, we also propose a summit of mathematicians in the two days before the next incarnation of GROW. This summit will discuss ways in which the US mathematics major might be recrafted to make it more attractive to undergraduate women; reasons behind the substantial differences in gender ratio among mathematics majors at different colleges and universities in the USA; and the creation of a network of ambassadors who will be able to assist people at other locations around the country to implement similar programs. Intellectual Merit : Through the research lectures, the student participants will be exposed to recent pure and applied mathematical research that they might not normally have the chance to learn about. Our use of exit polling from previous conferences will enable us to refine the format of this conference for future iterations. The Summit Meeting will fill a gap in our understanding of the problem of attracting more women into graduate programs in pure and applied mathematics, which has been resistant to many initiatives in the past decades. Broader Impacts : Our efforts will have the effect of increasing the number of qualified women making the decision to enter graduate school in the mathematical sciences. We will share the outcomes of the Summit Meeting with the NSF and via the GROW website. We will also consider the possibility of publishing the results in some form.
Effective start/end date9/1/168/31/18


  • National Science Foundation (DMS-1619748)


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