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2019 Tensor Women & Mathematics Projects

MAA's Tensor Women & Mathematics program supports projects designed to encourage college and university women and pre-college girls to study mathematics. In 2018, the Tensor Foundation donated $77,893 in support of these projects to 15 institutions across the US. If you’re interested in holding a Tensor Women & Mathematics 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.

2019 Tensor Women & Math Awards


    Boston University

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

  • Project Director: Glenn Stevens 

  • Project Summary: After a popular first year of activities funded by MAA-Tensor, the PROMYS Math Circle Girls (PMCG) Initiative will continue to provide a series of free, collaborative mathematics activities for Massachusetts high school girls during the 2019-2020 academic year. PMCG builds upon the success of the PROMYS Math Circle (PMC) outreach and mentoring program. PMC was launched in 2016, as a means to develop a pipeline of mathematically talented students from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds to apply to and attend the Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS), an intensive six-week summer immersion program at Boston University founded in 1989. Currently, PMC runs nine free math circles – 8 in high-needs public school districts in greater-Boston, and 1 virtual. Alumni of PROMYS for Teachers and graduate students in mathematics mentor students in 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 mathematics together, 2) exposing PMC girls to role models and a greater mathematical community outside of 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 is a week-long mathematics enrichment camp for girls entering 8th and 9th grades. The camp begins 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 choose one of the topics to explore in more depth, resulting in a poster presentation on the final day of the camp. The camp also includes “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.

    Dixie State University

  • Project Title: Dixie Tensor Scholar Program

  • Project Director: Bhuvaneswari Sambandham

  • Project Summary: The Dixie Tensor Scholar Program is a year-long mentoring program for female students to increase retention rates among math majors by highlighting the advantages and benefits of studying mathematics through the lens of their future career. Students in the Dixie Tensor Scholars Program will attend monthly talks, have monthly lunch meetings, maintain a portfolio and participate as mentors and facilitators to high school girls during the “Maryam Mirzakhani” Day held during Women’s History Month.

    Grand Valley State University

  • Project Title: GVSU-GRCC Math Circle Community for Women

  • Project Director: Lauren Keough 

  • Project Summary: The GVSU-GRCC Math Circle Community for Women is a math enrichment and mentoring program for women who are making a transition to college level mathematics. The program will pair academically younger students from Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) and Grand Valley State University (GVSU) with junior and senior math majors at GVSU. At monthly math circles the women will be introduced to topics they would not typically see in their undergraduate, like gerrymandering, and some they may see, like symmetries of a square and non-Euclidean geometries. The program will result in increased collaboration between the mathematics departments at GVSU and GRCC resulting in a smoother transition between the two institutions for all students.

    Jackson State University

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

  • Project Director: Jana Talley 

  • Project Summary: JSU GEMS is a one-week summer program for middle school girls, especially those who enrolled in high needs schools or who are members of groups underrepresented in the mathematical sciences. This program is housed at Jackson State University (JSU), Jackson, MS, a Historically Black College and University located in the state’s capital and within a failing school district. The program offers to participants several rigorous learning experiences and engagement with mathematicians and other professionals in mathematically intensive careers.

    Lafayette College

  • Project Title: "Lady Leopards of Mathematics" Peer Mentoring Program 

  • Project Director: Allison Lewis

  • Project Summary: The Lafayette College Mathematics Department proposes the formation of a peer-mentoring program for our female majors. First year and sophomore students will be mentored by their junior and senior colleagues, while junior and senior students will be matched with mathematics alumnae to explore potential career ideas and discuss obstacles encountered as members of an underrepresented group in STEM. Participants will meet regularly throughout the academic year, interacting in both their small mentoring clusters and among the larger program participant group. The program will conclude in April with a field trip for all program participants to the National Museum of Math (MoMath) in NYC. 

    Lesley University

  • Project Title: Lesley Math Circle
  • Project Director: Kate Hendrix
  • Project Summary: The Lesley University Math Circle is designed to be a safe and encouraging place to make math fun and help students grow in their confidence. Students will engage in activities that explore a range of mathematical topics, many outside of or extensions to, the school curriculum. In addition to learning about mathematical concepts, we emphasize the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as the skills for successful and engaging group discussion. The path through which we travel to explore mathematical concepts will be open to redirection by the students’ ideas and questions, with a focus on why the math works, not just how the math works.

    Southwestern University 

  • Project Title: Hidden No More: Stories of Triumph, Excellence and Achievement in Math and Computer Science

  • Project Director: Alison Marr

  • Project Summary: Hidden No More: Stories of Triumph, Excellence and Achievement in Math and Computer Science is a lecture series that invites six historically underrepresented minority women PhDs in mathematics and computer science to campus to speak and interact with our students. The speakers spend about 20 minutes talking about their journey to the PhD and about 20 minutes talking about their research. Each speaker also attends a pre-lecture departmental tea, a post-lecture reception, and a post-lecture dinner with three women math majors. This very successful series was first held in 2018 and this second iteration is a chance for us to reach out to nearby universities to grow the number of students that get a chance to interact with these speakers.

    Texas A&M University 

  • Project Title: Texas Women in Mathematics Symposium 2019-2020

  • Project Director: Laura Matusevich

  • Project Summary: The next Texas Women in Mathematics Symposium (TWIMS) will take place on February 1-2, 2020, at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. The TWIMS series takes place each year at a different institution in Texas. It celebrates the accomplishments of Texas women mathematicians and provides networking and professional development activities that enhance the climate for women in the region. TWIMS 2019-2020 will feature two keynote addresses, one by Dr. Irene Gamba, Professor of Mathematics and W.A. Tex Moncrief, Jr. Chair in Computational Engineering and Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, the other by Dr. Raegan Higgins, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Texas Tech University. TWIMS activities include a session on Professional Development, breakout sessions, and parallel sessions for contributed talks by conference participants. The Texas A&M Mathematics Department hosts conferences throughout the year, and has dedicated facilities and staff support. Together with its central location in Texas, this makes Texas A&M an ideal venue for TWIMS.

    Troy University

  • Project Title: Mathsketball 2020 

  • Project Director: Kenneth Roblee 

  • Project Summary: We will continue our 2-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 2020 to coincide with a Troy University women’s basketball game. 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 and using the player and team statistics for each game. 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.

    University of Maryland

  • Project Title: Girls Talk Math Summer Enrichment Program 

  • Project Director: Konstantina Trivisa 

  • Project Summary: “Girls Talk Math: Summer Enrichment Program,” (GTM) is a free two-week, day camp for high school students at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) that promotes participation of women in mathematics. GTM has three interconnected components: (i) to explore mathematical concepts, (ii) to learn about the role of women in math and their current contributions to the field, and (iii) to develop verbal and written communication skills. Up to 40 individuals who identify as female in the rising-9th through rising-12th grades residing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area will be accepted based on their interest in math and the program. The students will work in small groups (2-5) on a topic in mathematics outside of their high school curriculum, such as dynamical systems and number theory. The girls will research and record a podcast about a famous female mathematician whose career is related to their camp topic. A current undergraduate or graduate UMD math student will help participants understand the new topic and advise them on their organization and skills for studying math. The camp will culminate with the participants’ technical presentations of their studies and a celebration of their achievements. Their mathematical findings are shared through blog posts on our website and podcasts. Post-camp blog posts and podcasts will allow the campers to reflect on their experience at camp and may motivate them to continue studying math in the future.

    University of Minnesota

  • Project Title: Girls Learning and Exploring Applications of Mathematics 

  • Project Director: Scott Gilbert;

  • Project Summary: This renewal proposal requests funding to support Girls Learning and Exploring Applications of Mathematics (GLEAM), an academic year enrichment program to support middle school girls interested in mathematics in the Minneapolis - St. Paul metropolitan area. The GLEAM program is organized through a collaboration of the Mathematics Center for Educational Programs (MathCEP) and teachers in the Minneapolis, St. Paul, and metropolitan area school districts. GLEAM provides an avenue for girls interested in math to learn interesting and fun mathematical topics while fostering a sense of community among like-minded peers. GLEAM will offer Saturday enrichment programming at the university campus for four weekends in the 2018-2019 academic year. We estimate that it will bring seven teachers and approximately 140 students to the university campus four 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. In addition, we are adding new activities to this year's proposal that are in line with the AY 2018-2019 teachers' recommendations, such as a STEM-focused tour of the Minneapolis campus and a panel of female undergraduate STEM majors, on two of the enrichment days.

    University of South Alabama

  • Project Title: Girls in Math Club

  • Project Director: Elena Pavelescu

  • Project Summary: The program offers one day of campus activities for middle school girls in Fall 2019, followed by a year long Girls in Math Club at one of the local middle schools..

    University of Texas at Arlington

  • Project Title: Celebrating Women in Math Day and Mentorship Program

  • Project Director: Theresa Jorgensen

  • Project Summary: Celebrating Women in Math Day and Mentorship Program is a proposal for graduate students to mentor early-career undergraduates at UTA in a project that requires them to develop a Women in Math Day for local High School Students. This is an all-inclusive program intended to get younger students excited about mathematics and celebrate the work of historical and present-day female mathematicians. 

    Virginia Tech

  • Project Title: SURE: Speakers and Undergraduate Research Engagement

  • Project Director: Gretchen Matthews

  • Project Summary: To encourage female undergraduate students to continue in mathematics, we propose a new academicyear program SURE: Speakers and Undergraduate Research Engagement. The SURE program has two main components: a speaker series which hosts female mathematicians, some of whom are from other groups underrepresented in STEM fields, and semester-long introductory research projects. These two features will give undergraduates a welcoming environment in which to develop mathematically alongside peers, graduate students, and faculty and to discuss career trajectories and mathematical opportunities. Doing mathematics is at the center of this proposal, as undergraduates engage in small-group projects, and the speaker series is meant to highlight the career possibilities that continuing in the discipline may bring. Anecdotally, we have seen that female students in particular tend to have some anxiety about what is required to move onto advanced classes or to do research. They are interested in pursuing undergraduate research but unsure about how to make it happen. SURE projects give students concrete initial experiences; the confidence to apply for REUs, internships, or other research projects; and material to support their applications.



For any further information on these programs, please contact MAA Programs.

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