Nebraska hosts math leaders to spur women earning doctorates

Mathematics
Mathematics

Nebraska hosts math leaders to spur women earning doctorates

In late 2016, Walker’s team earned one of 37 grants through the INCLUDES program. This program’s goal is to address the underrepresentation of women and minority leaders all through the STEM fields. The result is a two-year project named Women Achieving Through Community Hubs in the United States (WATCH US).

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln hosts a gathering of leaders from more than 20 universities and colleges with Judy Walker being the one that initiated this gathering. Walker credited Patricia Wonch Hill, Mindy Anderson-Knott and the university’s Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Consortium with helping to bring the project and meeting to fruition.

“A few of us who have been involved in these types of programs for many years realized it would be an opportunity for us to join forces, learn from each other, and, ideally, move forward with new ideas that could reach a wider audience and really move the needle on this problem,” Walker said.

The meeting will start the process of analyzing “prototype projects” that include lessons Walker’s team picked out from existing projects. The WATCH US will include department and graduate chairs from the Big Ten universities Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Purdue, and Rutgers, alongside other doctorate-granting institutions that include the University of California-Irvine and the University of Virginia. As well as representatives from the historically black Spelman College and Howard University will attend as will those from undergraduate institutions such as Harvey Mudd College, Bryn Mawr College and Loyola Marymount University.

“One goal of our project is to transfer ownership of the problem from a select group of mostly women mathematicians to the mathematics community as a whole,” Walker said. “Bringing this group together will be a first step in that direction.”