Summer Program for Women in Mathematics
This is a 5-week program for 16 outstanding undergraduate women majoring in mathematical disciplines who have completed their junior year and are considering graduate study in the mathematical sciences. Goals of the program are to communicate an enthusiasm for mathematics, to develop research skills, to cultivate mathematical self-confidence and independence, and to promote success in graduate school. We bring the participants into contact with successful women mathematicians.
During Summer 1995, The George Washington University (GW) Mathematics Department hosted a 4-week pilot program for 10 outstanding undergraduate women mathematics majors from around the United States. The program, by every measure, was a terrific success. Each of the 10 participants was glowing in support of the program. Every one of the directors, instructors, and teaching assistants felt that the program provided a tremendous benefit to each participant.
In 1996 and 1997 we hosted a similar program for 16 undergraduate women and the program was a great success. In 1998, this program was expanded to 5 weeks.
Next summer, The George Washington University Mathematics Department will host a Summer Program for Women in Mathematics (SPWM). This is a 5-week program for 16 outstanding undergraduate women majoring in mathematical disciplines who have completed their junior year and are considering graduate study in the mathematical sciences. Goals of the program are to communicate an enthusiasm for mathematics, to develop research skills, to cultivate mathematical self-confidence and independence, and to promote success in graduate school. We bring the participants into contact with successful women mathematicians in academia, industry, and government. We aim to provide the students with a broad exposure to mathematical culture, illustrating the beauty and attraction of mathematics, the tools necessary for success in mathematics, applications of mathematics to business and industry, and the career opportunities available to mathematicians.
The academic program consists of two 3-week courses and two 2-week courses. All courses are led by professional mathematicians, who are assisted by graduate students. (No academic credit or grades are awarded.) Topics for these courses aim to complement the typical math major curriculum and are focused to permit the students to reach interesting open problems in a relatively short time. The plan is to lead the students to the forefront of current research, so that they might learn to appreciate the mathematical research enterprise. Details of the courses and instructors for the past years are available here.
Throughout the five weeks, the program provides extensive contact with guest speakers who give expository talks on the areas of their research interests. Some of the guest speakers also address mathematical history, mathematical ethics, and mathematical philosophy. The speakers are available to participate in discussions about their careers and personal and professional experiences. Details of the guest speakers for the past years are available here.
We organize several panel discussions on the issues of careers and the job market, graduate schools, and gender issues. Details of the past panels are available here . We take weekly field trips to see women mathematicians at work in the many centers of mathematical activity in the Washington area. Details of the past field trips are available here. A series of mathematical films is offered, and the program allows ample time for self-paced work as well as for reflection, recreation, and relaxation. Details of the past films are available here.
During this program, time is devoted to getting acquainted with some basic tools of mathematics, including instruction in modern mathematical software and library research skills, and including discussions and analyses of mathematical writing and proof techniques.
The student participants, graduate assistants, and faculty are housed in comfortable dormitories on the GW campus, in order to foster an atmosphere of community and camaraderie.