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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Women in mathematics aim for an equals sign | Around Campus - MIT News

Female graduate students in the Department of Mathematics unite to encourage community and to extend an invitation to prospective MIT students, inform Laura Carter, Communications and Project Administrator at  School of Science.

Students and faculty share a pizza dinner in the Department of Mathematics to kick-off the Spring 2019 semester.
Photo: Boya Song
Ten years had passed since 2008's Women in Mathematics: A Celebration when a few graduate students in the Department of Mathematics approached a female faculty mentor to revitalize a Women in Mathematics group.

The group designed and relaunched the MIT Women in Mathematics website last fall. It became both a resource and a starting point of their efforts to organize and build a supportive community in mathematics at MIT and beyond. Graduate student Juncal Arbelaiz Mugica, a third-year doctoral student in mathematics, said she realized more was needed to promote and enable peer support.

“A doctoral program is a long and convoluted journey,” Arbelaiz says. “Graduate students can be greatly impacted by a sense of a belonging to a community, which can be more difficult for minority students to find. As a result, I wanted to make the women in mathematics aware that a network of peers is available to them, which the department has been very supportive of.”

Her idea: Form an active, student-led group for students already present and provide resources for women in mathematics who are interested in applying to MIT...

Oscillating progress
Although their efforts are rapidly building a close-knit family of women in mathematics, there remains a lot of work ahead to establish equality for women in mathematics.

"Currently about 35 percent of our math majors at MIT are women, but unfortunately the percentage among our graduate students is only 18, comparable to the national average for similar universities," Goemans says. The most recent data released earlier this year from the National Science Foundation showed 28.5 percent of the doctoral recipients in mathematics and statistics were awarded to women.

Source: MIT News