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Mathematics Programs That Make a Difference 2008

Citation 2008

This year the AMS recognizes the Summer Undergraduate Mathematical Science Research Institute (SUMSRI) at Miami University (Ohio) and the Mathematics Summer Research Program in Research and Learning at the University of Maryland.

Summer Undergraduate Mathematical Science Research Institute (SUMSRI)
Miami University

SUMSRI is a seven-week program aimed at talented undergraduate students in the mathematical sciences who are interested in pursuing advanced degrees.  In an effort to address the shortage of individuals from underrepresented groups in the mathematical sciences, SUMSRI’s program is especially focused on, but not limited to, African Americans and other underrepresented minorities and women.  SUMSRI’s program goals are to encourage minority students and women to become mathematical research scientists; to provide these students with a research environment and improve their research abilities; to foster the students’ ability to work in groups; to give the students a long-term support group provide and to professional role models.  Additionally, the program includes a technical writing seminar and provides information to the students regarding opportunities for graduate school and career opportunities in the mathematical sciences.
Of 114 program graduates to date, forty-six have either received a master's degree or passed their PhD qualifying exams and another thrty-five have started their graduate programs (70 percent); three have received their PhDs; and twenty-one are still undergraduates.  Fifty-six program graduates are from underrepresented groups; of the forty-three of those who have completed their undergraduate degree, 88 percent are either in graduate school or have received a graduate degree.

SUMSRI web site

Full program description

The AMS commends the co-directors of SUMSRI, Dennis Davenport and Vasant Waikar, for their high level of commitment and their successful efforts to improve the diversity of the profession of mathematics in the United States.

Mathematics Summer Program in Research and Learning (Math SPIRAL)
University of Maryland

The Math SPIRAL program brings outstanding students from underrepresented groups, primarily rising juniors, to the University of Maryland at College Park for an intensive, six-week summer program that helps to prepare them for graduate study in the mathematical sciences.  The Math SPIRAL program model is unique in that a large research university, the University of Maryland, has partnered with eight "affiliate" institutions, including several historically black colleges and universities.  Math SPIRAL's student participants are recruited from these affiliate institutions.  Math SPIRAL has three core components: academics, research and professional development.  Students are enrolled in a 3-credit summer course consisting of two parallel sub-courses.  The first course focuses on combinatorics and a strategic analysis of winning strategies for a variety of games, while the second emphasizes core methods of mathematical reasoning and proof.  Formal public presentations of the academic and the research results are a key part of the program.  Professional development activities comprise field trips, colloquia and panel discussions.
Since its inception in 2003, a total of seventy-three students have participated.  Sixty-nine are African American or foreign students of African heritage.  One has completed a master's degree in operations research, eight are enrolled in doctoral programs, and five are enrolled in master's degree programs in various mathematical sciences; all of these students are African American with the exception of one African student and one Caucasian.

Math SPIRAL website

Full program description

The AMS commends the previous and present directors of Math SPIRAL, Dan Rudolph, Brian Hunt and Ken Berg, for their high level of commitment and their successful efforts to improve the diversity of the profession of mathematics in the United States.

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