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Mathematics Programs That Make a Difference 2009

Citation 2009

This year the AMS recognizes the Department of Mathematics at the University of Mississippi and the Department of Statistics at North Carolina State University.  Both of these programs have made significant, successful efforts to encourage underrepresented minorities to continue in the study of mathematics and statistics.

Department of Mathematics
University of Mississippi (Ole Miss)

The southern United States is home to many of the nation's African-Americans, and yet the universities in that part of the country have not historically been large producers of African-American PhDs in mathematics.  But the University of Mississippi (UM) has started to reverse this trend, becoming a national leader in nurturing and mentoring African-Americans in doctoral study.  Over the past decade, 11 African-Americans have received mathematics doctorates from Ole Miss.  A high point was reached in 2006, when the department awarded PhDs to six African-Americans, the largest cohort of African-American mathematics PhDs ever produced at any university in the United States. That the university was once a symbol of educational segregation in the United States gives this success story special importance. 

Since 2001, the UM mathematics department has received two GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need) grants from the U.S. Department of Education; the grants provide fellowships for graduate study.  The fellowships proved to be transformational for the department, allowing it to quadruple the number of graduate students and to ensure that they are financially well supported.  At the same time the department worked diligently to provide more careful nurturing of its graduate student population, both in research and in professional development.  Contributions to these achievements have been made by the entire UM mathematics department.

Department of Mathematics, University of Mississippi web site


The AMS commends the members of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Mississippi for their high level of commitment and their successful efforts to improve the diversity of the profession of mathematics in the United States.


Department of Statistics
North Carolina State University (NCSU)

The Department of Statistics at North Carolina State University has made diversity of students and faculty a top priority.  Out of 40 faculty in the department, 11 are female, 3 are African American, and 2 are Hispanic.  In the past 10 years, 15 minority students have received master's degrees and 2 have received PhDs.  The department has about 160 graduate students, including 9 African-Americans and 4 Hispanics; over 50 percent are female.

This dynamic department has pursued and received many grants, including two National Science Foundation VIGRE grants that proved crucial in supporting minority students.  Recently the department received an S-STEM (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) grant from the NSF, which will provide scholarships for United States undergraduate and graduate students with financial need.  The department participates in many existing diversity programs, workshops, and conferences, and also designs and hosts some of its own.  Some of the more recent such events include StatFest, Infinite Possibilities Conference, a Pipeline Workshop for Faculty of Women's Colleges and Minority Institutions, and Building Future Faculty.  NCSU's long-term commitment, with strong support from its administration, is making a difference in diversity in the mathematical sciences.

Department of Statistics, North Carolina State University web site


The AMS commends the faculty and staff members of the Department of Statistics at North Carolina State University for their high level of commitment and their successful efforts to improve the diversity of the profession of the mathematical sciences in the United States.

For more information about the nomination process, please contact Dr. Ellen Maycock, Associate Executive Director, AMS, via e-mail at or by telephone at 800-321-4267, ext. 4101.
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