The Mathematical Association of America (MAA), through its Strengthening Underrepresented Minority Mathematics Achievement (SUMMA) program, supports the participation of mathematics undergraduates from underrepresented groups in focused and challenging research experiences to increase their interest in advanced degrees and careers in mathematics.
The MAA SUMMA program builds on a history of assisting faculty to provide mathematical experiences for underrepresented groups through summer research programs for undergraduate mathematics majors and enrichment programs for pre-college students. NREUP is structured both to increase undergraduate completion rates and encourage more students to pursue graduate study by exposing them to research experiences after they complete their sophomore year. NREUP is designed to reach minority students at a critical point in their career path – midway through their undergraduate programs – through an undergraduate professor with whom they have a strong connection. At this point in their studies, students have a strong background in calculus and a course such as linear algebra or differential equations with some degree of exposure to the proof-based mathematics needed prior to undertaking a research project.
The program reaches students at the transition point between lower division and upper division studies. As course work becomes more abstract and students are required to work independently, many promising students are not able to adjust to the demands of a major in mathematics. Providing mentoring in a challenging summer program will support students as they cross this juncture. NREUP provides key components to encourage students to pursue graduate studies and careers in mathematics – enriching and rewarding mathematical experiences, mentoring by active researchers, and both intellectual and social networking with peers.
In 2003, NREUP projects were supported at three different institutions. Since then, the program has grown to support projects at approximately eight different institutions each year.
Mikayla Sweet, MAA Programs Coordinator
Support for this MAA program is provided by the National Science Foundation (grant DMS-1359016).