EMSW21-MCTP: Mentorship through Research: A Model for an Emerging Urban American University

  • Castillo-Chavez, Carlos (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The justification for this supplemental proposal is directly tied to our efforts to increase the number of underrepresented U.S. minorities earning Ph.D.s in the mathematical sciences one student at a time, the approach that one must take when the numbers are so small. A supplemental award will support a U.S. Latino, Jos M. Vega-Guzmn, during the final year of his graduate studies so that he can have the opportunity to: 1) complete his research and doctoral dissertation; 2) participate year-round in the current NSF-funded project (EMSW21-MCTP: Mentorship through Research: A Model for an Emerging Urban American University); as well as 3) work with a group of experts in computer algebras at the Research Institute for Symbolic Computation at the Johannes Kepler University in Austria during the 2012-2013 academic year, a group with whom Jos has already started to collaborate. [Raquel M. Lpez, Sergei K. Suslov& Jos M. Vega-Guzmn (2012): On a hidden symmetry of quantum harmonic oscillators, Journal of Difference Equations and Applications, DOI:10.1080/10236198.2012.658384 (available online 21/feb/2012: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10236198.2012.658384)] Need for URM Ph.D.s Rising Above the Gathering Storm [NAS 2010] concludes that maintaining global leadership and competitiveness in science and technology requires investing in research and encouraging innovation while growing a strong, talented, and innovative science and technology workforce. Naturally, applied mathematics, the language of science and technology, must be at the heart of such a re-investment effort. Freeman Hrabowski et al. National Academy of Sciences report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads (2011) [NAS 2011], notes that a national effort to sustain and strengthen [science and engineering] S&E must also include a strategy for ensuring that we draw on the minds and talents of all Americans. Freemans report observes (page 37) that in the fields where [U.S.] underrepresented minorities have extremely low representation we find the highest levels of non-U.S. citizens with temporary visas. In 2007, 60 percent or more of doctorates awarded by U.S. institutions in engineering and computer science were to temporary visa holders. High percentages were also awarded to this group in mathematics and the physical sciences. Increasing the number of doctoral degrees awarded to individuals from groups underrepresented in the mathematical sciences is essential if we are to maintain our nations competitive standards and meet national security demands, particularly in areas where citizenship is a requirement. Mathematical Professional Societies data (published in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society [AMS 2010]) show that over the past decades roughly 40/1200 Ph.D.s have been awarded in the mathematical sciences to underrepresented U.S. minorities, a population comprising roughly 50% of the K-12 U.S. student population. The urgency of awarding Ph.D.s in the mathematical sciences to U.S. citizens and permanent residents is more pressing because roughly 50% of the Ph.Ds. awarded each year go to international students, most hired by U.S. universities (or business). Our dependence on the availability of foreign talent and the high demand for individuals earning advanced degrees in the mathematical sciences puts us at a considerable disadvantage. Primary dependency in foreign national in STEM disciplines puts our economic, national, technological and scientific future at risk. The ongoing Ph.D. production model highlights our nations vulnerability in the mathematical sciences and our inability to meet national security needs [the National Security Agency is, for example, the largest employer of mathematicians] [Castillo 2009].
Effective start/end date5/8/094/30/14


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $817,836.00


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