Director, Advancement Communications
ATLANTA – Georgia State University has been awarded a grant of almost $500,000 from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to establish a program that boosts diversity, equity and inclusion in pathways toward graduate programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The university was one of the four institutes in the nation receiving an implementation grant, the highest-funded grant available through the Sloan Foundation’s Creating Equitable Pathways to STEM Graduate Education initiative.
The Sloan Foundation grant will fund the creation of the Math Path Program at Georgia State, which aims to increase and improve the pipeline of undergraduate students from underrepresented groups into quantitative sciences graduate programs. The university’s Center for the Advancement of Students and Alumni into Graduate School and Professional Programs (CASA) will lead the establishment, operation and oversight of Math Path, in collaboration with faculty in the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics, Risk Management and Insurance, and the Institute for Insight. The National Math Alliance, along with select graduate programs at Arizona State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota and Purdue University and Georgia State’s College of Arts and Sciences and Robinson College of Business, have partnered with Georgia State on the initiative.
Designed as a scalable model of support for students in STEM fields, Math Path seeks to boost diversity, equity and inclusion in the quantitative sciences by better supporting undergraduate students and driving culture change in graduate programs. The program will provide mentoring for first-year math majors and offer numerous other student supports and development opportunities. The program will also adapt an early identification system to find 2-year and 4-year students who have academic profiles that are predictive of success in quantitative sciences and invite them to explore majoring in math. Math Path leadership at Georgia State and its program partners are assembling a diverse advisory board composed of higher education professionals with expertise in leading successful culture shift in academic institutions.
“Creating truly equitable pathways to higher education requires both empowering undergraduates and enhancing the environments within graduate programs,” said Kyle Frantz, CASA director and professor, Georgia State Neuroscience Institute. “Math Path will help Georgia State and our partner organizations identify, encourage and equip students for the successful pursuit of advanced degrees in quantitative sciences, while also enhancing the culture of those graduate programs to become more welcoming and supportive of students from underrepresented backgrounds.”
“While our students have so much potential, pursuing a math degree—much less a graduate education or Ph.D. in a STEM field—is rarely considered,” said John King, associate professor in mathematics, Perimeter College at Georgia State University. “Math Path will open up the horizons of career possibilities for our students at Perimeter College and facilitate the institutional change that will remove barriers to their success as they transition into four-year universities, then on to graduate programs nationwide.”
The first cohort for the Math Path Summer Program was admitted in early June. The inaugural summer experience launches June 20 and culminates in a Closing Research Symposium on August 3, 2022. Additional program components will be rolled out throughout 2022 and the Math Path is currently seeking faculty and graduate students to serve as Mentored Math Team Leaders for the fall semester. The program will also provide a limited number of funding grants to help undergraduate participants attend the Math Alliance Field of Dreams Conference, taking place Nov. 4-6 in Minneapolis, Minn. The application to request funding assistance to attend the conference will open in September.
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a not-for-profit, mission-driven grantmaking institution dedicated to improving the welfare of all through the advancement of scientific knowledge. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation, the Foundation makes grants in four broad areas: direct support of research in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economics; initiatives to increase the quality, equity, diversity, and inclusiveness of scientific institutions and the science workforce; projects to develop or leverage technology to empower research; and efforts to enhance and deepen public engagement with science and scientists.
“We’re immensely appreciative of and energized by the resources the Sloan Foundation has provided us,” said Frantz. “Many of the students at Georgia State are from backgrounds that may have limited their opportunities, but not their potential. This funding enables us to work toward systemic change that helps develop student potential into successful careers and contributions in STEM fields.”