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2019 Tensor-SUMMA Projects

MAA Tensor SUMMA (Strengthening Underrepresented Minority Mathematics Achievement) program supports projects designed to encourage the pursuit and enjoyment of mathematics by students who are members of groups historically underrepresented in mathematics. In 2019, the Tensor Foundation donated $80,128 in support of these projects to 15 institutions across the US. If you're interested in holding a Tensor SUMMA program like these, click here to learn more about applying.

The Tensor Foundation also supports projects designed to encourage college and university women or high school and middle school girls to study mathematics. Learn more about MAA Tensor Women & Mathematics here.


2019 Tensor SUMMA Awards



  • Project Title: A Multi-Tiered Approach to Mathematics Enrichment 
  • Project Directors: Liljana Babinkostova
  • Project Summary: This project is implementing a near peer instructional model to bring for the first time a mathematics enrichment component to Pomona Hope, a well-established after school programming site that serves K- 12 students in the Pomona Community. The city of Pomona is still suffering from the effects of widespread poverty that is connected to decades of gang violence, as well as drug abuse, and many young people in the city have very few options after high school. However, the city of Pomona is surrounded by college campuses with Cal Poly Pomona to the west, the University of La Verne to the north, and the Claremont Colleges to the east. Our program brings together two of these Universities' Mathematics Departments that are working together to wrap their arms around the young people in this city and provide them with a positive mathematics experience through peer mentorship. This project is a pilot program for a potentially much larger scale model, where college students and high school students are compensated with scholarships and stipends for doing outreach work around mathematics literacy in the Pomona Community. Currently all of the college students that are volunteering in the 2018-2019 program at Pomona Hope work part-time jobs. While the compensation we are providing for doing this work is not enough to allow students to leave a part time job, with the funding we will be able to alleviate some of the pressure that it takes for these students to do volunteer work..

     Central Washington University 

  • Project Title: Círculo de Matemáticas en Español/ Spanish Language Math Circle
  • Project Director: Dominic Klyve 
  • Project Summary: In the last year, we have worked to establish the new Spanish-language extension of the Kittitas Valley Math Circle for local middle-school students (Círculo de Matemáticas en Español). The program built on lessons we have learned in establishing the existing elementary Math Circle in our community, as well as the work of other outreach programs across the country. During the Math Circle sessions, participating youth have worked in teams guided by Spanish-speaking CWU undergraduates to solve mathematical puzzles and play mathematical games. Through these activities, the students learned about advanced mathematical topics; enjoyed the companionship of other young students who enjoy math; learned new mathematical vocabulary in Spanish; and grew under the guidance of undergraduate mentors. Fun activities led by Spanish-speaking undergraduate students expanded traditional notions around who can be great at mathematical thinking and problem-solving. In total, the proposed project met all the goals of active mathematical engagement requested in the TENSOR SUMMA RFP, and with your continued support, we believe we will be able to record and disseminate this novel mathematical model to allow for replication.

     Kansas State University

  • Project Title: Heritage Math Camp and Indigenous Math Circles
  • Project Director: David Auckly
  • Project Summary: This project will bring inspiring mathematical enrichment to Indigenous communities in Washington state. It is modeled on the successful Navajo Nation Math Circles project. It will reach communities in the Seattle area as well as people in the lower Yakima valley. Like the program it is modeled on it has six coordinated components: a mathematical visitor program, a math festival program, and a summer camp for students, teacher workshops, a summer teacher immersion, and teacher mentoring. The emphasis of this proposal is on the summer camp.

     Lamar University

  • Project Title: Lamar University STEM Students of Color Alliance
  • Project Director: Jacqueline Jensen-Vallin 
  • Project Summary: The Lamar University STEM Students of Color Alliance seeks to increase retention and graduation among students of color in STEM fields by: (1) providing role models who are professionals in STEM careers, and (2) providing community to promote and support these students throughout their time at Lamar. While we have previously focused on providing academic role models, this next year will focus on local mentoring and community development and support.

     Muhlenberg College

  • Project Title: SLIMES: Spotted Lanternfly Investigated through Mathematical and Environmental Sciences
  • Project Directors: Eugene Fiorini
  • Project Summary: This program is a ten-day environmental science research project together with an academic-year mentoring component for high school students in collaboration with Lehigh Valley school districts and other social service organizations. The project aims to teach high school students from minority and other underrepresented groups the research and mathematical skills to become the next generation of scientists, employing a multidisciplinary, collaborative application of mathematics to investigate an urgent new environmental problem: the impact of the invasive spotted lanternfly on the Lehigh Valley ecology. This program will encourage cooperative learning and discuss real-life applications with openended questions to actively engage the students. For the first day of the program, students will participate in orientation activities, introducing laboratory and field research techniques. For the remainder of the program, students will use mathematical, statistical, and scientific methods to analyze and model spotted lanternfly behavior. The final day of the program, students will present their results to parents, faculty, and administrators. Throughout the following academic year, students will be mentored in after-school activities and advised on higher education and career opportunities in the mathematical sciences.

     Ohio University Eastern

  • Project Title: Alliance of Indigenous Math Circles Summer Camps
  • Project Directors: Robert Klein 
  • Project Summary: The Alliance of Indigenous Math Circles (AIMC) brings more than seven years of experience running math circles in indigenous communities. This past year, we successfully held our second residential math circles camp for kids in grades 7-12. We had more than 45 applications for 35 spots and welcomed students from Navajo, Hopi, and Apache tribes. This program operates under the philosophy that you cannot change the way someone thinks about themselves as a doer of mathematics without celebrating the cultural traits that have marked them historically as outsiders to mathematics. If, for instance, you believe that Hopis can't be mathematicians, a math camp doesn't stand much chance of sustainable, meaningful change. By integrating cultural activities, we help students to see themselves as, Hopi mathematicians or similar.

     Rhode Island College

  • Project Title: Beyond the Curriculum: 8th Grade Mathematics Enrichment Program
  • Project Directors: Salam Turki 
  • Project Summary: This is a semester-long enrichment program in Mathematics for eight graders that will be held in the fall of 2019. The program will be an after-school program in collaboration with Nathanael Greene Middle School in Providence, RI. This is a school with a student population who is 90% ethnically diverse and 84% of students qualifying for subsidized lunch. The program's curriculum is designed to provide interactive experiences for the students. The activities are designed to require no prior knowledge of mathematics and to give each student similar ease of access to the material. In their 2016 paper `` Raising Interest in STEM Education (RISE)”, the authors argue that the number of underrepresented minorities mismatches the demographics of the U.S. With that in mind, the main objectives of our program are to enhance recruitment, engagement and retention of underrepresented minority students in STEM education and careers by heightening awareness of future career possibilities, strengthening problem solving skills, focusing to refine attitudes towards mathematical literacy and most importantly displaying that mathematics can be fun and challenging without being scary.

     Saint Joseph's University

  • Project Title: Previews to Calculus: Crossing the Bridge to Success in Stem
  • Project Director: Elaine Terry
  • Project Summary:The CALCULUS: Crossing the Bridge to Success in STEM program is an invitation-only summer bridge program at Saint Joseph's University. As a non-residential program it will provide incoming underrepresented freshmen with the tools and resources that are beneficial for their first year in college, specifically as a student in a STEM major (i.e. natural sciences, mathematics, computer science). Twelve to sixteen students will be given the opportunity to participate in the program. The foundation course of the program will be the mathematics class which will meet every day of the six-week program. The mathematics course will introduce topics from precalculus and an introduction to limits, tangent lines, and areas below graphs that will help students to understand concepts that are necessary for successfully completing a one semester calculus course at the University Additionally, the program will include three workshops that will introduce students to the rigorous course expectations of the Saint Joseph's University STEM curriculum. Two workshops, one that focuses on biology and the other on chemistry, will each be taught by a University professor. A third workshop will be conducted by a University administrator who has extensive experience working with underrepresented student populations during the summer months. She will work with students to expose them to University academic resources STEM students.

     Temple University

  • Project Title: Mathematical Confluences - a partnership between Temple University and the Philadelphia High School for Girls
  • Project Director: Irina Mitrea
  • Project Summary: The project is a continuation of the MAA Tensor-SUMMA sponsored partnership between the Department of Mathematics at Temple University and the Philadelphia High School for Girls. Our efforts are focused on encouraging students of minority backgrounds to continue their study of mathematics, to assist them with the sometimes difficult transition between high school and college mathematics, to assist high school mathematics teachers in providing their students a well-rounded set of professional opportunities centered around mathematics. A short relevant background of the relationship between these institutions is as follows. The Philadelphia High School for Girls has a one hundred sixty-six year history as a public, college preparatory school whose heritage is founded in tradition, for academically talented young women drawn from the diversity of the city of Philadelphia. The High School maintains a rich and rigorous academic program, which includes Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses. The Department of Mathematics at Temple University has been involved in joint mathematical outreach activities with the Philadelphia High School for Girls since the Fall of 2017 and the project is focused on continuing to offer a set of coherent and inspiring mathematical outreach activities in collaboration with the high school for the benefit of the students involved.

     Tennessee State University

  • Project Title: Tennessee State University Early Research Experiences in Mathematics
  • Project Director: Wanda Payne
  • Project Summary: Students majoring in mathematics at Tennessee State University must complete a senior project as a part of their graduation requirements. As a result, during the fall semester of their senior year, these students enroll in a senior project course. Often these students have not been introduced to any meaningful mathematics research prior to taking this course. Implementing a grant project in which students get to conduct mathematics research earlier in their college careers has the potential to (i) provide students with early exposure to research practices, (ii) help to prepare students for more competitive undergraduate research experiences, and (iii) help to prepare students for graduate studies and industry careers. One area of mathematics that is used extensively in many research fields is graph theory. Students will be introduced to graph theory and some of its applications in order to conduct their research.

     The Regents of the University of California, Riverside

  • Project Title: Advanced Mathematics Program
  • Project Director: Po-Ning Chen
  • Project Summary: The Advanced Mathematics Program is a summer supportive program for students considering to major in mathematics. The program aims to create a learning environment for transitioning math majors especially those who are female, underrepresented minorities, and from low-income backgrounds in order to increase diversity in graduate students and the career prospects of our undergraduate students. Participation in the summer program will prepare the students for the core curriculum of the math department. In addition to students from UCR, the summer program will be available to transfer students from the community colleges to the math department to help our incoming transfer students. The summer program, with its emphasis on underrepresented minorities, will certainly contribute to UCR’s mission to diversity.

     University of Cincinnati

  • Project Title: Bearcat Math Circle Club
  • Project Directors: Christina Therkelsen
  • Project Summary: The Bearcat Math Circle is a weekly meeting of math faculty, undergraduate volunteers, and middle school students to work on a fun math problem.

     University of Guam

  • Project Title: Young Scholars Research Experiences in Mathematics (YSREM) at UOG
  • Project Director: Hyunju Oh
  • Project Summary: The Young Scholars Research Experiences in Mathematics (YSREM) at University of Guam (UOG) program will recruit six enthusiastic and talented math students from eleventh and twelfth grades to participate in research experiences in mathematical thought and effort during summer 2019. The students will be from the underrepresented minority groups in Guam as described below. The YSREM program will combine National Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program (NREUP) at UOG, awarded by January 26 in 2019, which will run concurrently as a single program. UOG’s six undergraduate research students in NREUP will serve as one-on-one mentors and work as a collaborators in the team research projects under their faculty mentors for seven weeks. YSREM will offer gifted teens in the Guam area: an opportunity to explore mathematics that is not generally taught in schools, role models, intellectual challenge, true peers, and the confidence to dream bigger dreams.

     University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

  • Project Title: Girls Talk Math: Recruiting Underrepresented Minority Mathematicians through a Non-Traditional Math Camp
  • Project Director: Hans Christianson
  • Project Summary: "Girls Talk Math: Recruiting Underrepresented Minority Mathematicians through a Non-Traditional Math Camp" seeks to encourage girls who may not see themselves as good at mathematics to pursue further studies in the field. The proposed project is a free two-week summer day camp for high-school students who identify as female, with an emphasis on recruiting students from underrepresented groups. Camp is free for all attendees, and lunch will be provided for all campers. We plan to host 40 students. Participants will complete math problem sets, research the life of a female mathematician, write and record a podcast about the mathematician, and write a blog post describing the math problems they solve. Each podcast will be produced and recorded during the camp and will be available on iTunes and other free online platforms. The blog posts will be hosted on the camp website. A diverse group of female professionals in the Mathematical Sciences will speak on their experiences and research to connect participants to modern mathematics. By building a community of like-minded individuals, the program will create support for girls from underrepresented groups who are interested in mathematics. 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 to help them as they continue exploring potential careers in mathematics.

     Williams College

  • Project Title: Lathisms
  • Project Director: Pamela Harris
  • Project Summary: Lathisms (Latinxs and Hispanics in the Mathematical Science) is an organization that seeks to promote and feature different Latinx or Hispanic mathematicians. Our main tool is our website, In 2016, 2017, and 2018, during Hispanic Heritage Month, featured one mathematician per day including a short biography of each mathematician and details of their contributions to the mathematical sciences. New in 2018 was the inclusion of podcast interviews with some of the Lathisms honorees and this will continue in 2019.

For any further information on these programs, please contact MAA Tensor SUMMA Program Director Rosalie Dance or 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