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Tensor Women and Mathematics Grants

The MAA awards grants for projects designed to encourage college and university women or high school and middle school girls to study mathematics. The MAA, on behalf of the Tensor Foundation, is soliciting college, university and secondary mathematics faculty (in conjunction with college or university faculty) and their departments and institutions to submit proposals. Projects may replicate existing successful projects, adapt components of such projects, or be innovative. Possible projects, all of which have a strong mathematics component, are to:

  • organize a club for women interested in mathematics or mathematics and science;
  • create a network of women professional mentors who will direct mathematics projects for girls;
  • hold a conference for counselors to prepare them to encourage women and girls to continue to study mathematics;
  • conduct a summer mathematics program for high school women;
  • bring high school women onto a college campus for a Math Day with follow-up;
  • structure a program for high school and/or college women to mentor younger female mathematics students with math projects or math clubs;
  • form partnerships with industry to acquaint women students with real-life applications of mathematics;
  • provide funds toward release time to allow a faculty member to prepare a course on women and mathematics, provided the host institution agrees to offer such a course.

For consultation on your ideas for projects, feel free to contact the MAA Tensor Program Outreach Director Florence Fasanelli by email or phone 202-966-5591.


The objectives of the MAA Tensor Women and Mathematics Program are to:

  • encourage college and university mathematics faculty to develop projects to increase participation of women in mathematics; and
  • provide support to project directors.

Nature of the Grant

Grants will be up to $6,000 and will be made to the institution of the project director for the one-year project. An institution is expected to supply matching funds or in-kind support as an indication of commitment to the project. These grants will not support any institutional indirect costs or provide fringe benefits. To provide maximum flexibility, unexpended funds may be carried forward. Some grants, after a reapplication, may be renewed for another year, with a maximum of three grants.

Who May Apply

Applications will be accepted from college and university mathematics faculty or pre-college mathematics teachers working in conjunction with college and university faculty.

Characteristics of Effective Programs

While projects will have a high degree of variability, there are some characteristics which effective projects will share:

  • Clearly articulated and measurable project objectives;
  • Strong academic component, with a focus on enrichment, not remediation;
  • Sustained activities over a sufficient period of time;
  • Highly competent project team;
  • Mentoring of each student participant;
  • Providing information on careers that use mathematics extensively in a way that will encourage students to pursue mathematical study;
  • Use of appropriate role models;
  • Involvement of parents, teachers, counselors for pre-college projects;
  • Peer support system;
  • Institutional commitment.

For more tips on writing a successful grant proposal visit the MAA Grant Proposal Writing Guide.

Submission of Proposals

Please submit all proposal materials online by February 12 of the year for which you would like the grant. Proposals received after the deadline will not be considered. Proposals will be evaluated in a panel which will include members of the MAA Committee on Participation of Women, Women & Mathematics Network, and a trustee of the Tensor Foundation. You will receive notification of the outcome of your proposal by the end of March.

Make sure you have the following documents ready as separate PDF files as you will be asked to upload them in appropriate sections of your application:

  • CVs of Project Director and any Co-Directors;
  • Project Description as specified below;
  • Budget Justification;
  • Letter(s) of Recommendation from your department chair or other appropriate institutional administrator indicating their support of the project;
  • If a renewal, state the year or years that funding had previously been granted and upload a one-page summary of progress to date, and a budget summary of money expended to date;
  • Other relevant documents.

Project Description

The following guidelines should be addressed in the order listed using a font of 11 or 12 point and not exceeding 3 pages:

  • Concept: What are your ideas and philosophy about mathematics and education that form a basis for your project?
  • Rationale: In what way will your institution be a welcome host for the project?
  • Objectives: What are the objectives of your project?
  • Activities: What tasks do you plan to undertake for your project? Describe the mathematics content and activities you expect to provide participants.
  • Personnel: Other than the proposed project director, who else will be involved in the project? How?
  • Evaluation: How will you judge the success of this project?
  • Commitment: What is the potential for long-term commitment of the host institution?
  • Future funding: What is the likelihood of institutionalization through local or state funding after start-up funding from the Tensor Foundation?
  • Timeline: When will you carry out the activities?

Contact Information

For further information about the program, please do not hesitate to contact Tensor Women and Mathematics Program Director Caren Diefenderfer or the MAA Sponsored Programs Manager Olga Dixon by e-mail or phone 202-319-8498.