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2018 Tensor Women and Mathematics Projects

MAA's Tensor Women and Mathematics program supports projects designed to encourage college and university women and pre-college girls to study mathematics. In 2018, the Tensor Foundation donated $66,983 in support of these projects to 14 institutions across the US. If you’re interested in holding a Tensor Women in Math program like these, visit here to learn more about applying. 

The Tensor Foundation also supports projects designed to encourage the pursuit and enjoyment of mathematics by students of groups historically underrepresented in mathematics. Learn more about MAA Tensor-SUMMA here.

2018 Tensor Women and Math Awards


    Boston University

  • Project Title: PROMYS Math Circle Girls (PMCG) Initiative

  • Project Director: Glenn Stevens 

  • Project Summary: The PROMYS Math Circle Girls (PMCG) Initiative builds upon the success of the PROMYS Math Circle (PMC) mentoring program by providing a series of free, collaborative mathematics activities for ambitious high school girls during the 2018-2019 academic year. In late 2016, PMC was launched as a means to develop a pipeline of mathematically talented Massachusetts students from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds to apply to and attend PROMYS, an intensive six-week summer immersion program at Boston University. Given an overwhelming response, PROMYS formed ten free math circles in high-needs school districts in the greater-Boston area. PROMYS for Teachers alumni and graduate students in mathematics mentor students in challenging weekly extracurricular math circles. Recognizing the need to foster proactively the involvement of female students, PMCG will provide supplemental opportunities for girls outside of their co-ed math circles, by 1) introducing girls from across PMC math circles to each other to engage in doing math together, 2) exposing PMC girls to a greater mathematical community outside their schools, 3) broadening the perspectives of PMC girls beyond their own neighborhoods, and 4) encouraging PMC girls’ continued interest in studying mathematics and other STEM fields throughout high school and beyond.

    Colorado Mesa University

  • Project Title: GirlsDoMath Summer Camp

  • Project Director: Tracii Friedman

  • Project Summary: The GirlsDoMath Summer Camp will be a week-long mathematics enrichment camp for girls entering 8th through 10th grades. The camp will begin with hands-on activities that introduce exciting topics in mathematics that the girls are not likely to have seen in their traditional school curriculum. Camp participants will choose one of the topics to explore in more depth, resulting in a presentation on the final day of the camp. The camp will also include “guest spots” throughout the week in which women working in STEM fields and faculty members from the university will give short inspiring presentations about careers and topics in STEM. The goals of the camp are to provide mathematics enrichment activities to girls early in their education; to introduce girls to careers that require a strong background in mathematics; and to improve girls’ perceptions of women (themselves included) as mathematicians.

    Ithaca College

  • Project Title: I C Women in Math

  • Project Director: Vera Babenko

  • Project Summary: The main goal of this project is to build a supportive community of female undergraduate students at Ithaca College, raise awareness of female mathematicians and their importance in the development of mathematics, and provide the opportunity for high school female students to learn about careers in mathematics and a broad range of applications of mathematics.

    Jackson State University

  • Project Title: Jackson State University Girls Engaging in the Mathematical Sciences (GEMS)

  • Project Director: Jana Talley 

  • Project Summary: The Jackson State University Girls Engaging in the Mathematical Sciences (JSU GEMS) Program is a one week summer program for middle school girls, especially those who are enrolled in high needs schools or who are members of groups underrepresented in the mathematical sciences. JSU GEMS will be housed at Jackson State University (JSU), Jackson, MS, a Historically Black College and University located in the state’s capital and an urban school district. The project objectives are to: (a) engage middle school girls in rigorous mathematics learning experiences, (b) introduce middle school girls to the process of applying to college (c) introduce middle school girls to and expand their awareness of mathematically-intensive careers, and (d) engage middle school girls in the use of computer programming software that will (i.) enhance their understanding of computational data, (ii.) reinforce their understanding of grade level appropriate mathematical procedures, and (iii.) allow them to visualize mathematics for conceptual understanding. The summer program offers rigorous learning experiences and engagement with mathematicians and other professionals in mathematically intensive careers. Program activities also include daily speakers from mathematically intensive careers and college-readiness activities. 

    Taylor University

  • Project Title: Breaking Barriers: Increasing Accessibility of Graduate School for Female Mathematics Students 

  • Project Director: Derek Thompson

  • Project Summary: The purpose of Breaking Barriers is increasing accessibility of graduate school for female mathematics students by bringing 10 early career female mathematicians to campus across the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 academic years. The intent is for our relatively large population of female mathematics majors to use these opportunities to envision themselves as professors and graduate students. Taylor University is located in a rural community in Indiana, with a diverse student body and a nearly even split of male and female mathematics majors, however, all of the full-time mathematics faculty are white males. In the past five years, only one of our female graduates has attended a PhD program, compared to 10 male graduates. 

    Texas State University

  • Project Title: Women Doing Math (WDM)
  • Project Director: Daniela Ferrero
  • Project Summary: WDM is a year-long program aimed at female students but influencing the entire mathematical community at Texas State University (TxSt). The goal of this program is to increase the number of women in the mathematical workforce by creating awareness of career opportunities in mathematics and encouraging women to take advantage of them. Each month, this program focuses on a high-profile female mathematician and her field of research. At the end of the month the mathematician visits TxSt to give a seminar, and share a mentoring meal with students. In preparation for the seminar, there are activities to increase the impact of the visitor in the students’ careers, and to promote networking among female students through doing mathematics. The activities during each month involve reading selected material, solving problems, contests and prizes. The program has a website to encourage participation and to broaden its impact. A newsletter with announcements and opportunities for women in math is distributed through an email list to which anyone can subscribe. 

    Troy University 

  • Project Title: Mathsketball 2019

  • Project Director: Kenneth Roblee

  • Project Summary: We propose a one-day all girl (7th and 8th graders) math event with the theme “Mathsketball,” which combines mathematics and statistics applied to basketball. This would take place on a Saturday in January 2019 to coincide with a Troy University women’s basketball game (as the 2018-19 schedule has not yet been published, we cannot yet specify a date). Girls will have experiences with how to compute specific percentages and statistics in basketball and how these are used to make decisions. They will also have activities involving creating a schedule for a league and some mathematics involved in this. The students would also attend a Troy University women’s basketball game, and would have a meeting with the staff involved in collecting the game statistics. This person would describe to them what he/she does in his/her work, and there would be time for questions and answers. The focus is to expose students to the basic skills of data collection, organization, and analysis that are used in sports such as basketball; moreover, they would learn introductory discrete mathematics concepts of graphs to model scheduling problems. 

    University of Houston 

  • Project Title: Texas Women in Mathematics Symposium 2018

  • Project Director: Yuliya Gorb

  • Project Summary

    Texas Women in Mathematics Symposium The Texas Women in Mathematics Symposium (TWIMS) gives a platform for female mathematicians around Texas to showcase their work to a broad range of audience. 

    The primary aims of TWIMS in Houston are:

    - To showcase the research of female mathematicians in Texas

    - To present work in a supportive environment

    - To network with other Texas-based female mathematicians

    - To explore issues surrounding being a woman in mathematics

    University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

  • Project Title: Girls Learning and Exploring Applications of Mathematics 

  • Project Director: Kaitlin Hill 

  • Project Summary: After an initial kick-off event at the Minneapolis Math and Science Fun Fair, GLEAM will offer Saturday enrichment programming at the university campus for three weekends in the 2018-2019 academic year, for a total of four events. It will bring seven teachers and approximately 140 students to the university campus three times during the academic year. Each weekend, the teachers will work with GLEAM students on a particular enrichment topic, chosen to be relevant to today’s world and have fun underlying mathematics. The objectives of the proposed program will be to (a) introduce middle school-aged girls to fun mathematical topics; (b) foster a sense of community among girls interested in mathematics; (c) inspire students to continue pursuing mathematics; and (d) help students get a sense of what mathematicians do, by interacting with mathematics faculty.

    University of Nebraska-Lincoln

  • Project Title: All Girls/All Math Summer Camp 

  • Project Director: Mikil Foss 

  • Project Summary: All Girls/All Math (AGAM) is composed of two week-long summer camps each for 30 mathematically talented high school girls, held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The participants are exposed to challenging, sophisticated and interesting mathematics in the context of a cryptography course that culminates in the development and implementation of the RSA cryptosystem. The campers also participate in mini-courses focusing on other topics ranging from aerodynamics to graph theory. Activities are also planned to help the girls develop new life-long relationships with each other and to meet female mathematicians at various stages of their education and careers.

    University of New Haven

  • Project Title: University off New Haven's Summer Math Academy for Girls 

  • Project Director: Yevgeniya Rivers 

  • Project SummaryThe University of New Haven All Girls Math Academy is a one-week summer enrichment program in Mathematics and Computer Science for girls entering grades 7-10, which will commence for the 4th time in June 2018. The camp curricula is designed to provide hands-on experience for the campers in mathematics to which they would have had little or no prior exposure, thus challenging any disparities that would exist in their prior knowledge. The main objectives are to improve recruitment and retention of girls in STEM education and careers by increasing awareness of career options, demonstrating that mathematics can be fun and challenging without being intimidating, strengthening problem solving skills, improving attitudes, self-image in mathematical literacy and also developing written and verbal communication skills. Candidates will be exposed to Math topics including Coding and Cryptography and Graph Theory that are not ordinarily introduced in the high school math classroom. These topics will set up an introductory pathway towards research in Mathematics. Topics in Geometry and Scratch programming are included with the aim of increasing their digital literacy and mathematical fluency. We also seek to provide an opportunity for students from low-income backgrounds.

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Project Title: Girls Talk Math: Engaging Girls in Mathematics through Mentorship and Mass Media

  • Project Director: Hans Christianson

  • Project Summary: “Girls Talk Math: Engaging Girls in Mathematics Through Mentorship and Mass Media” will involve a group of up to 40 high-school students who identify as female in a two-week-long summer day camp in which they will complete math problem sets, research the life of a female mathematician and produce a podcast series and an accompanying blog describing their work. Female mathematicians from local universities and industry will speak on their experiences and research to connect participants to modern mathematics. Campers will design and record a podcast describing the mathematician whose life they researched and will write a blog post about the math problems they solve throughout camp. Each podcast will be produced and recorded during the camp and will be released on the blog and through free platforms available online. By building a community of like-minded individuals the program will create support for girls interested in entering this challenging area. The goal of our program is to increase the girls’ knowledge and build their confidence by having their voices heard, creating relationships with peers and mentors, and putting the students in contact with resources helpful to continue exploring the potential of careers in mathematics.

    University of South Alabama

  • Project Title: Girls in Math Club

  • Project Director: Elena Pavelescu

  • Project Summary: The Girls in Math Club offers one day of campus activities and valuable interactions for middle school girls in Fall 2018, followed by a year long Girls in Math Club at one of the local middle schools. 

    West Virginia University Research Corporation

  • Project Title: Women in Mathematics Industry Internships Network (WoMI2N) Program

  • Project Director: Jessica Deshler

  • Project Summary: The goals of this project are to prepare graduate students to be successful in industry careers and provide ways to help faculty support students in this area. The primary mechanisms for this will be through (1) placement in internship positions with local industry and government agencies, as well as in research laboratories across campus, (2) guidance for faculty to be able to mentor students for industry careers and (3) building a network of industry contacts and projects for students to explore. Tensor funding will specifically support placing female graduate students into internships (objective 1) and additional university (funding mechanisms and in-kind support) and federal funding will be sought to support the other objectives of the program, including the networking events for female graduate students and potential industry partners.



For any further information on these programs, please contact MAA Grants Manager, Mikayla Sweet.

For consultation on your ideas and the scope for projects, proposers are encourage to contact the MAA Tensor Program Outreach Director, Florence Fasanelli by email at