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Dolciani Mathematics Enrichment Grants

Dolciani Mathematics Enrichment Grants (DMEG)

The Mary P. Dolciani Halloran Foundation has provided funding for the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) to award grants for projects designed to develop mathematical enrichment programs for talented students in middle school or high school. The goal of the program is to interest students who are ready for more challenge in the study of mathematics and encourage them to further their mathematical studies.

Proposals are sought from college and university mathematical sciences faculty working in partnership with middle and/or high school mathematics teachers. Interested middle and high school teachers are strongly encouraged to seek out college and university mathematic sciences faculty in the formulation of proposals to benefit middle and high school students. The Foundation is particularly interested in projects originating from the middle or high schools. Proposed projects may replicate existing successful projects, adapt components of such projects, or be new. View 2018 DMEG Awards here.


Projects should provide enrichment and extension activities for students which lead to heightened interest in and appreciation of mathematics. The projects should encourage students to continue studies of mathematics in high school and college and should better prepare them for those studies. Projects are designed to provide active enrichment activities, beyond classroom coursework, for students who show promise or interest in mathematics and are not intended for remedial help for students who need assistance in order to succeed in their coursework in mathematics.  Projects must be open to all talented students in the applicant pool.  Undergraduate and graduate students may provide role models and work directly with students under the tutelage of faculty from both the college or university and middle or high school. Participating in the DMEG Projects should benefit graduate, college, and pre-college students.

Active engagement in doing mathematics and mentoring of each student participant are essential features. Students should be made aware of career opportunities in mathematics and mathematically intensive disciplines.

Projects should be conducted over a sufficient period of time to engage student participants in learning and applying new and interesting mathematics that they will not otherwise encounter in their classes. Projects may be conducted during summer, during the school year, on weekends, or after school. The Dolciani Halloran Foundation funding may be used to supplement existing enrichment programs in order to increase the number of students participating in those programs or may be used to initiate new projects. Program funding is restricted to activities that are not typically part of school budgets.

Sample Projects

  • Organize a club for middle school or high school students interested in mathematics or mathematics and science
  • Develop a Math Circle for middle or high school students
  • Conduct a summer mathematics camp for middle and/or high school students
  • Establish a program for college/university undergraduate and/or graduate students to mentor middle or high school students working on mathematics projects or competitions
  • Organize a speaker series for middle or high school students on mathematical enrichment topics and career opportunities using mathematics
  • Actively engage mathematically talented students in a way they have not been in school
  • Organize a project that connects talented students with a problem based on real applications in industry

Nature of the Grant

Grants will be up to $5000 and will be made to the college or university of the project director for a one-year project. However, short-term events (one to three days) are generally limited to $2,500. An institution is expected to supply in-kind support as an indication of commitment to the project; these grants will not support any institutional indirect costs or provide fringe benefits. Any matching funds available should be described in the proposal and included in the budget justification. To provide maximum flexibility, unexpended funds may be carried forward with approval. Some grants may be renewed up to a maximum of three years. Projects that have received previous funding must include a report on outcomes of the project.

Who May Apply

Applications will be accepted from college and university mathematical sciences faculty at accredited U.S. (including U.S. Territory), or Canadian AUCC-member institutions. Proposals must demonstrate a partnership with secondary or middle school mathematics faculty that is appropriate for the project. Either the middle or high school teachers or the college or university faculty may initiate the project and teachers are encouraged to develop ideas and to contact colleagues at a nearby two- or four-year college or university to work collaboratively. However, a college or university must be the fiscal agent. The application will automatically close on February 12, 2019 at 11:59 p.m EST. 

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Characteristics of Effective Projects

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

  • Distinct, fresh, and innovative
  • Target highly motivated or talented middle or high school students;
  • Clearly articulated and measurable project objectives;
  • Strong academic component beyond the standard K-12 curriculum, with a focus focus on enrichment;
  • Actively engage students in the activity and in mathematics;
  • A clearly defined activity that engages students in the process, structured in a way to have a positive impact on the student;
  • Highly competent project team;
  • Provide information on careers that use mathematics extensively in a way that will encourage students to pursue mathematical study;
  • Use of appropriate role models;
  • Institutional commitment.

Projects may also include mentoring of student participants, involvement of parents, teachers, and counselors, or a peer support system. Please read our DMEG testimonials here.

Submission of Proposals

The Mary P. Dolciani Halloran Foundation has provided funding for the MAA to award grants for programs designed to encourage pursuit and enjoyment of mathematics among middle school and/or high school students. The deadline for submitting an application to the DMEG program is February 12, 2019. A proposal for a project may be submitted from the same institution or department to only one of the following MAA grant programs in a given year: the DMEG program; the Tensor SUMMA program; or the Tensor Women and Mathematics program. Applicants can expect to receive information regarding the funding of their proposals by the end of March.

Please note: DMEG program will continue funding for 2019 cycle.

Application Instructions

Applications for this program will be accepted beginning October 15th. During the course of the application procedure, you will be asked to provide the following information:

  • The title of the project, name and contact information of project director and the name, position, and qualifications of other key project personnel.
  • A brief summary of the proposed project that includes the specific types of activities proposed.
  • A proposal narrative (as a file upload), which should not exceed three pages. It should address the following guidelines in the order listed:
    • Concept: Describe the mathematical and educational concepts and activities that form the basis for the project. Include a description of the activities, the frequency, how many students are expected to participate, how the project will attract students with talent or interest, how students will be selected, who will oversee the project, and who will lead the activities. Specify the intended audience and how participants will be recruited; projects must be open to all mathematically talented students in the population. Provide details on the type of mathematics and topics covered and how students will be actively engaged.
    • Institutional Commitment: Describe the ways your institution will support the project and the potential for long-term continuation of the project. What is the likelihood of securing local or state funding after the initial DMEG funding?
    • Objectives: List the objectives and how they will be achieved by the project
    • Evaluation: Describe how you will judge the success of the project. If this project has run before, please provide details on the number of students, assessment of the project, and how the DMEG funds would be used to expand or enhance the project.
    • Timeline: Include a timeline of significant project activities.
  • 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.
  • A budget. The budget form will have separate lines for personnel, materials, student support, and travel, and requires that you include a budget explanation for each line. If the budget exceeds $5000, please describe what portions of the budget DMEG is being asked to fund and how other budget items would be funded. Upload a letter from your department chair or other appropriate administrator indicating institutional support of the project.

Find answers to some of our most commonly asked questions here.  

2018 DMEG Awards


     California State University, Fresno 

  • Project Title: Expanding the Fresno Math Circle and other Enrichment activities
  • Project Directors: Maria Nogin
  • Project Summary: This proposal is to grow and enhance the Fresno Math Circle (FMC) and expand mathematics enrichment activities for middle and high school students. The FMC was established in 2015 with the mission to provide local children with a learning environment that fosters learning beautiful mathematical theories beyond the regular school curriculum. Currently, we have four groups with a total of 60 participants in grades from 4 to 12, meeting bi-weekly, and we will add a fresh batch of 3-4-graders next year. We also host the Math Kangaroo competition and prepare students for it. This academic year, with the help of Dolciani grant, we set up a host site for the AMC 8/10/12 competitions, as well as start preparation sessions for them. Our vision is to grow the FMC and increase participation in the competitions we host. This project is a platform for our Central Valley students to actively collaborate with peers who share similar interests. We will also partner with current in-service teachers from area schools by inviting them to observe and assist in these enrichment activities and mentor our participants. The activities will be organized by the University faculty assisted by the credential students, who both serve as role models to the middle and high school students and obtain a valuable field experience in working with them on advanced mathematics. This project will benefit the student and teacher community molding each of them to become better mathematicians and educators.

     DePaul University 

  • Project Title:Site-based Professional Development of Undergraduate and Graduate Students for Leading Math Circles
  • Project Director: Carolyn Narasimhan
  • Project Summary:For the past two years DePaul University has received grants from the Mathematical Association of America to collaborate with Math Circles of Chicago (MC2) in developing and implementing workshops for university math students who will go on to lead MC2 sessions. The workshops focus on introducing these students to activities, teaching techniques, and community building strategies that will make sessions accessible to a wide range of students. Surveys indicated that participants have found the workshops to be very effective in preparing them to plan engaging and motivating math circle sessions. There is also evidence that the workshops have had an impact on university students’ own practices as teaching assistants. Responding to this feedback, we propose this year to use Dolciani Mathematics Enrichment funds to support three workshops for seven undergraduate and graduate math students in the summer of 2018 to prepare them for leading new or expanded math circle sessions in 2018-2019. The innovation that we propose this year is to make the workshops “practicum based” by holding them at the site of the Math Circles summer camp. This will allow participants to observe how allow participants to observe how experienced leaders engage children in doing novel mathematics. DMEG funds will also pay for these students and two experienced Chicago Public School teachers to lead three sessions during the 2018-2019 school year.

     Dixie State University

  • Project Title:R^2MC(Red Rock Math Circle)
  • Project Director: Jie Liu
  • Project Summary:In this project, we plan to initiate a Math Circle in Math department of Dixie State University. We will invite up to twenty 6th-8th graders to DSU campus for a year-long weekly after school Math Circle meeting. During each meeting, students will work on various fun and challenging open ended math related problems. We will also prepare students for Math Olympiad Contests through practicing contests questions from previous years. The discussions will led by different math faculty members or math major students. DSU faculty members in different areas and other local community members will be invited to do a monthly math related presentation. Each semester we plan to invite at least one speaker from industry to present for the students. The purpose of those presentations is to show how important math is and how widely math is applied in different fields. We also plan to have a math related field trip each semester either to the surrounding state/national parks or local companies. This will provide opportunities for students to enjoy math in nature and math in real life.

     Elon University

  • Project Title: The Williams High School Mathematics Club
  • Project Director: Chad Awtrey
  • Project Summary:This project is a collaboration between the Williams High School (WHS) Mathematics Club and Elon University. The PIs seek to engage a diverse population of approximately 45 WHS students in three types of mathematical enrichment activities during the 2018-2019 AY for the purpose of inspiring said students to take more mathematics classes in their secondary and post-secondary careers. The three activities are: (1) preparing for and participating in two mathematics contests - the AMC 10/12 and the Elon University High School Math Contest; (2) researching, alongside Elon University undergraduate mathematics majors, unsolved problems in the area of abstract algebra and statistics and disseminating results in the form of conference presentations and at least one submission for publication; (3) attending a monthly speaker series, hosted at Elon, where speakers from academia, business, industry, and government discuss aspects of their careers that have the potential to inspire students to pursue a STEM major at the university level. The collaboration between Elon University and WHS is natural. The two institutions are located approximately 4 miles apart. Furthermore, PI Awtrey was the research mentor for PI French when she was an undergraduate mathematics major at Elon University. WHS is also well-suited for engaging participants from diverse ethnic backgrounds; currently 33% of students are African American, 26% are Hispanic, and 49% are female.

     Emporia State University

  • Project Title: Inspired by Math - A mathematics enrichment program in Emporia, Kansas
  • Project Director: Qiang Shi
  • Project Summary:Our program is a math enrichment program that attracts motivated and talented middle school students in Emporia and surrounding communities. This math enrichment program is a joint effort between Emporia State University (ESU) and Emporia Middle School (EMS). It consists of two components: a four-day summer camp at ESU and a weekly program in the fall and spring at EMS. In the summer camp, students will be introduced to the format of the AMC 8 contest and have opportunities to work on previous AMC 8 problems. In the second hour, a short math expository talk or a math project will follow. During the regular school year, students attending EMS will continue to work on their math skills during before- and after-school sessions. Students work on problem-solving and other hands-on projects. They also attend invited math talks held at ESU. The group also participates in AMC 8 in the fall and takes a field trip in the spring. Our program is the only year-long math enrichment program for middle school students in the Emporia area. The program has had positive impact on our students. We would like to continue this program with a new goal this year of improving participation of talented students from underrepresented groups.

     Fairfield University

  • Project Title: Vertical Integration in Mathematics
  • Project Directors: Janet Striuli
  • Project Summary:We propose the creation of a Fairfield Woods Middle School team of Mathletes of 15 students who will be immersed in a once a week after school program for six months. At the beginning, students will be working on hard math problems, then they will be training for a math competition, and after the competition (in early February) the students will work on research projects in mathematics or statistics. Students in the middle school will be mentored by undergraduate math majors, by Professors McSweeney and Striuli, faculty from Fairfield University, and Ms.~ Formato, the Mathematics resource specialist from Fairfield Woods Middle School. The project aims to a vertical interaction of math abilities and expertises.

      Florida Gulf Coast University

  • Project Title:FGCU Mathletes Summer Camp for Bright and Talented Middle School Students
  • Project Directors: Tanya Huffman
  • Project Summary: FGCU Mathletes Summer camp is an annual week-long enrichment program for the middle school students organized by the Department of Mathematics at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). This non-profit camp is conducted for bright and talented middle school students interested in investigating concepts in mathematics that are not usually introduced at the middle school level. The ultimate objective of this program is to strengthen middle school students’ interest in mathematics and provide early experience and exposure to STEM related careers with mathematical foundation. Participants engage in instructional and hands-on sessions lead by FGCU professors from mathematics, computer science, chemistry, and engineering departments. Over 15 FGCU faculty from College of Arts and Sciences and College of Engineering devoted their time to develop program lessons and activities providing youth with engaging curriculum that sparks curiosity and relates mathematics to other disciplines and real-life problems. The program has had a tremendous success since it was first introduced in the summer of 2014, attracting a diverse group of middle school students from around Southwest Florida. The program is especially successful in recruiting females, minorities, and economically disadvantaged students. Gender diversity is evenly split for the program.

     Georgia Southern University Armstrong Campus

  • Project Title:Constructing Elliptic Curves of Prime Order over Finite Fields
  • Project Directors: Duc Huynh
  • Project Summary:The proposed project is a year-long program on constructing elliptic curves of prime order over finite fields. The program will consist of two parts: a week-long summer camp running from July 9 to July 13, and a Math Circle running from August of 2018 to May of 2019. We will meet daily from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM for the summer camp, and we will meet monthly on Saturdays from 9 AM to 3 PM for the Math Circle. The students will be learning elementary concepts from number theory such as prime numbers, modular arithmetic, and computing square roots; and they will be introduced to programming (Python) as well. By the end of the summer camp, the students will have learned how to explicitly construct elliptic curves with certain security requirements using the open-source math software Sage Math. Three research assistants from Georgia Southern University - Armstrong Campus will serve as mentors during the camp and throughout the year, providing the high school students with mathematical and programming guidance and support. The Math Circle is a continuation of the summer camp. The students will be given a series of projects, culminating with a much-improved version of the algorithm from the summer camp; they will also discover how to apply the algorithm to test for prime numbers. The main goal of the Math Circle is to keep the students interested in the topics and have them motivated to pursue post-secondary education strengthening their understanding.

     Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

  • Project Title: Kutztown University Mathematics Olympiad Initiative (KUMOI)
  • Project Directors: Wing Hong Tony Wong
  • Project Summary:There are numerous pre-college mathematics competitions, such as the American Mathematics Competitions, MATHCOUNTS, Mathematical Kangaroo in USA, and Math League. In order for students to fully benefit from participating in these competitions, a suitable amount of training in mathematical problem solving skills is necessary. Nevertheless, very few schools in the region provide such opportunities to their students. In this project, I plan to collaborate with mathematics teachers from five regional middle schools to start up math teams in their respective schools. I will organize workshops for the teachers and run a summer day camp for a selected group of 30 students in the summer. I will also teach some training sessions for the math teams in the fall and spring. I will provide enough materials and training to each school so that the math teams will become mature and sustainable.

     Montana State University- Billings

  • Project Title: Montana State University-Billings Math Circle: Encouraging the students of Billings Montana to engage with the Creativity & Playfulness of Mathematics
  • Project Director:Tien Chih
  • Project Summary:The Montana State University-Billings Math Circle is an after school mathematical outreach program, geared for students grades 6 through 8, held at Montana State University-Billings. The purpose of the program is to engage students in the creative and exploratory sides of mathematics in a relaxed cooperative environment. The program is a new one with its first session held on January 22nd in 2018. Professors and students from MSUB guide students as they work together in collaborative groups to make their own discoveries. There have been two sessions so far, with ten students attending up to this point. To encourage participation across all cross-sections of our community, these sessions are held at no cost to the students. We wish to continue to grow the program and expand our attendance, making the Montana State University-Billings Math Circle a local fixture of our community.

      Southern Connecticut State University

  • Project Title: A STEAM Powered Math Circle
  • Project Director:Braxton Carrigan
  • Project Summary:We are proposing a math circle themed around mathematical art. We will hold sessions approximately twice per month (15 during the academic year). We expect 20 to 25 participants (high school students), 2 facilitators (SCSU students), and 2 senior people (SCSU faculty) at each meeting. During meetings the participants will engage in relatively traditional math circle activities as well as hands-on constructions of mathematical art. Examples of the mathematical art envisioned are: large scale constructions of platonic solids, modular origami, quadric surfaces with string models, minimal surfaces via soap films, and mixed media installations/sculpture. There are a variety of mathematical concepts that can be illustrated via mathematical art, for instance the construction of a regular icosahedron that we completed recently with Math Club students at SCSU involved Combinatorics (counting vertices, edges and faces in the solid and discovering Euler's formula), Topology (the structure was stiffened using three mutually perpendicular rectangles which are linked as Borromean rings), Geometry (using geometrical reasoning to deduce that those internal rectangles are golden), and Group Theory (the famous result that the symmetry group of the icosahedron is isomorphic to A_5 was discovered by our math club students with minimal prompting). We believe that the theme of mathematical art will encourage participants to expand their understanding and help them fall in love with Math!

     Stevens Institute of Technology

  • Project Title:Math Cirlce and Math Olympiad Initiative
  • Project Director: Jan Cannizzo
  • Project Summary: We are organizing Math Circles—extracurricular activities for school children that are run by high school or college students (together with school teachers) and that are based on material that we create. Our efforts are based on the belief that there are many school children who would enjoy—and benefit from—mathematical enrichment but do not have access to it. Moreover, there are many enthusiastic high school and college students who would be happy to teach this kind of math, except that it is difficult (for reasons involving organization, effort, and expertise) to prepare and compose material. Our approach is therefore to negotiate with public schools willing to host Math Circles, find high school or college students interested in teaching extracurricular math, and create content for Math Circle meetings that is ready to use with limited preparation. Relatedly, we are organizing an annual event that celebrates mathematics, namely the Stevens Math Olympiad, a problem-solving competition open to any and all students in grades 3-12 free of charge. The Olympiad takes place in May and attracts 350-400 students.

     University of California, Los Angeles

  • Project Title: Mathematical Data Science for High School Students: A University Experience
  • Project Directors: Nicolas Christou
  • Project Summary: In this project, Dr. Nicolas Christou, a faculty member of the UCLA Department of Statistics, will partner with Mr. Robert Montgomery, a Mathematics high school teacher from Edward Roybal Learning Center (Los Angeles Unified School District) to provide 30 high school students with an experience in Data Science at UCLA. This project will also involve graduate students in Statistics as well as undergraduate students in Mathematics and Statistics as classroom facilitators and mentors. The project will fund three campus visits to UCLA where students will be exposed to the theory and applications of regression analysis. On each day, there will be a variety of activities, such as whole class instruction, small group exploration, and an opportunity to explore the university as a science major.

     University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Project Title: Summer Illinois Math Camp
  • Project Director: Jennifer McNeilly
  • Project Summary:Summer Illinois Math (SIM) Camp is a free, week-long math day camp for middle and high school students hosted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Mathematics. Campers will see the creative, discovery driven side of mathematics. By showing them some of the ways mathematicians approach problems, SIM Camp hopes to encourage them to continue studying math beyond the high school level.

     University of Northern Colorado

  • Project Title: Northern Colorado Math Circle for Middle School Students
  • Project Directors: Gulden Karakok
  • Project Summary: The mission of the Northern Colorado Math Circle for Middle School Students is to provide mathematical problem-solving enrichment activities for 5th through 8th grade students in the Greeley-Evans school district in Colorado. This program will continue to support the district’s students, as no such free mathematical problem-solving outreach activities are available for them. We successfully hosted our two summer workshops. Each one was 3 days on UNC campus with 52 participants in 2016 and 23 students in 2017. In addition, we had 16 monthly evening sessions thus far. We propose to host another 3-day summer workshop for 48 students in June 2018 and have 7 monthly evening sessions during 2018-2019 school year. Participating students in our circle sessions will engage in solving mathematical tasks that encourage mathematical discovery and emphasize problem-solving strategies. We will work on STEM tasks to focus on different areas of mathematics this summer. Again, we will have undergraduate preservice teachers and graduate students whom will support and mentor participating students. These mentors will gain experience in teaching problem-solving tasks. All activities will take place on UNC campus to expose students to a college campus and develop awareness of the college experience. Similar to previous camps, we will have visitors from STEM careers to expose students to opportunities.

     Westminster College

  • Project Title: Cottonwood High School Sherlock Club
  • Project Directors: Kenan Ince
  • Project Summary: This project would provide mathematical enrichment activities for talented but at-risk 9th – 12th graders at Cottonwood High School in the Salt Lake City metro area. We intend to establish a group of 20 motivated students who meet twice a month throughout the school year to engage in a wide variety of mathematical activities. Participants will engage in problem-based mathematical activities led by a variety of Westminster College STEM professors, who will discuss applications of math in careers. Participants will also visit Westminster College for a day of math enrichment activities co-sponsored by Westminster’s math club, Lemma.

Program Contacts

For additional information, please contact MAA Progams or Dolciani Mathematics Enrichment Grants Program Director Nancy Ann Neudauer.