Studying Successful Doctoral Students in Mathematics from Underrepresented Groups

Project Title: Studying Successful Doctoral Students in Mathematics from Underrepresented Groups

Project Leader(s)
Michael Young (Iowa State University), Sarah Sword (Education Development Center), Carl Westine (The University of North Carolina at Charlotte)

Project Aim and Purpose:
We are investigating what contributes to the successes of minority students in mathematical graduate programs through the experiences and personal narratives of minorities that are in, recently graduated from, or will soon be in graduate programs in the mathematical sciences. An outline of the
investigation process is described below:
(i) perform hour-long phone or video interviews
(ii) de-identify and aggregate interviews to provide anonymity to interviewees, while preserving overarching themes that are present
(iii) use the themes of the aggregated data to create counter-stories, as well as workshops and best practices for mentors, advisors, and graduate programs

The counter-stories that we draft from this research serve to give an outline of what minority students in math departments needed and continue to need to successfully matriculate through the problem. We hope that departments use our research to serve as a standard, and we hope that our research prompts departments to begin to have open dialogues about whether or not they are properly serving their minority students.

Project Target Groups:
We are seeking participants that identify as underrepresented racial minorities who are or will be enrolled in a graduate program next fall (Fall 2021) or have graduated from a program in the last 5 years. This includes undergraduate seniors and those enrolled post-baccalaureate programs.

Each participant of the study will be compensated with a $50 Amazon Gift Card. A link to a screener survey is provided below; and if anyone has any questions, comments or concerns, then I urge them to reach out to

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