The goals of the current project are to (1) attract middle school and high school girls to the study of mathematics and to nurture and support their interest in this discipline; (2) give the middle school and high school female participants the chance to interact with college level women pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees, women faculty in STEM disciplines, and professional women from industry, government or the financial sector; and (3) assist teachers by providing new ideas for teaching mathematics to girls and underrepresented minorities. These will be pursued through the activities of the national network of Sonia Kovalevsky Mathematics Days and the participation of the Association for Women in Mathematics at the 2012 USA Science and Engineering Festival.
The proposed activities will include a projected total of 3,050 middle school and high school girls (1,250 middle school and high school girls will be served by the Sonia Kovalevsky Days Program and the rest will be the participants at the USA Science and Engineering Festival) and 150 mathematics teachers in the growing national mentoring network involving women faculty, and graduate, undergraduate, high school and middle school women students interested in mathematics. These activities will help develop awareness of job opportunities and possible career paths for middle school and high school women students interested in mathematics and they will attract women to the study of mathematics by providing women student participants with competent and engaging mathematical instruction intertwined with strong mentorship by undergraduate and graduate women students in STEM disciplines who are in position of scientific leadership at the college level.
This grant was in support of the outreach series of activities of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) for middle school and high school girls called Sonia Kovalevsky Mathematics Days during 2011-2013 and the participation of the association in the USA Science and Engineering Festivals in 2012 and 2014. The grant enabled a very successful series of mathematical outreach activities specifically designed to attract young women to the study of mathematics which served more than 4000 middle school and high school students. These activities were run by various higher education institutions across the United States and they were supported through mini-grants administered by AWM on a competitive basis. The success of the national network of Sonia Kovalevsky Mathematics Days run by AWM hinged on the ability of the association to run the mathematical outreach activities by engaging its members, including: (1) successful junior professional women in the field, who are active in the field and passionate and clear communicators of mathematical ideas, who served as role models for the middle school and high school students and (2) senior women mathematicians who have worked closely with the junior ones guiding them in the mentoring process of the middle school and high school students and in the development of engaging mathematics curricula for the grant activities. Besides recruting and inspiring the middle school and high school women, some of the byproducts of the of the grant activities have been: (1) The training of a substantial number of undergraduate and graduate women students in mathematics as well as postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty in becoming mentors of the middle school and high school girls during and beyond the activities supported by the grant. Many have reported that their engagement with the grant activities provided them with unique professional experiences that have made them professionally grow and more marketable for employment. (2) Incresed visibility of the Association for Women in Mathematics on the national stage through its very successful presence at the USA Science and Engineering Festivals in 2012 and 2014. (3) Successful recruitment of women undergraduate and graduate students from instititions of higher education throughout the United States to AWM. This will allow these young professionals access to the association's resources and professional development opportunities at the local, national and international levels.