A commitment to giving students research experience, mentoring them as junior colleagues and bringing underrepresented groups into the field added up to a national award for the Department of Mathematics. The department received the 2010 American Mathematics Society Award for an exemplary program or achievement in a mathematics department for an unusual or particularly effective program of value to the mathematics community, university or society.
“NC State’s particular combination of a strong commitment to outreach, well thought-out programs for students and a longstanding dedication to diversity in the mathematics workforce is singularly worthy of recognition and emulation by the broader mathematical community in these difficult times,” said selection committee chair Steven Bleiler of Portland State University.
The committee cited the department’s research experiences for undergraduates programs and its emphasis on getting doctoral students involved in research early in their studies. To help students move into the professional realm, the department offers professional development and internship opportunities at sites such as Harvard Medical School, Boeing and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Lab.
The selection committee noted that the department strives to treat students like young colleagues being guided into the profession. The percentage of female graduate students has increased from a historic average of 33 percent to 49 percent. In the last decade more than 10 African American students and several students of Hispanic and Native American origins earned doctorates. At the undergraduate level, about one-quarter of the graduates come from underrepresented minority groups. The department recently led formation of a national postdoctoral program for underrepresented minority mathematicians.