National Science Foundation
EDGE: Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education
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The Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) program, jointly funded by the National Science Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, was designed to strengthen the ability of women and minority students to successfully complete graduate programs in the mathematical sciences.  The summer program consisted of two core courses in analysis and algebra/linear algebra. There were also minicourses in vital areas of mathematical research in pure and applied mathematics, short-term visitors from academia and industry, guest lectures, graduate student mentors, and problem sessions. In addition, a follow-up mentoring program and support network was established with the participants' respective graduate programs.

Participants in the program were women who were

  1. graduating seniors who have applied to graduate programs in the mathematical sciences,

  2. recent recipients of undergraduate degrees entering graduate programs, or

  3. first-year graduate students.

All applicants were to have completed standard junior-senior level undergraduate courses in analysis and abstract algebra and a desire to earn a doctorate degree. Women from minority groups who fit one of the above three categories were especially encouraged to apply. Final acceptance to the program was contingent upon acceptance to a graduate program in the mathematical sciences.

The EDGE program has supported ninety-one women, at least half of whom are from underrepresented minority groups. Current data show that EDGE participants were from diverse racial (49 percent underrepresented minorities) and educational (44 percent liberal arts) backgrounds. Furthermore, they took a variety of paths through their graduate programs. 89 percent of the participants have either obtained a graduate degree or are pursuing their Ph.D. graduate programs. The success of the summer sessions, along with the rate of student achievement has sparked a growing interest among students, faculty, and institutions. The applicant pool increased by 68 percent over three years. 

Partner: the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

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