The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) supports the participation of mathematics undergraduates from underrepresented groups in focused and challenging research experiences to increase their interest in advanced degrees and careers in mathematics. Each year mathematical sciences faculty are invited to apply for a grant to host National Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program at their own campus over the summer. NREUP is structured both to increase undergraduate completion rates and encourage more students to pursue graduate study by exposing them to research experiences after they complete their sophomore year (at this point in their studies, students typically have a strong background in calculus and a course such as linear algebra or differential equations with some degree of exposure to the proof-based mathematics needed prior to undertaking a research project). NREUP is designed to reach minority students at a critical point in their career path - midway through their undergraduate programs. As course work becomes more abstract and students are required to work independently, many promising students are not able to adjust to the demands of a major in mathematics, but with a strong connection to a faculty mentor established through the NREUP, students are given the tools they need to succeed.
About this Program
A fundamental problem at the undergraduate level is that Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, and American Indian/Alaska Native minority students complete college at lower rates than majority students and many of them change to non-quantitative majors along the way. These groups are even more underrepresented in the mathematical sciences.Many studies have established the need to attract minority students in the United States to careers in mathematics, science, and engineering and reinforced the notion that we will be unable to meet our nation’s needs unless we tap this population. We have a responsibility to members of minority groups, predicted to become the majority in America, to assist them in seizing opportunities in fields with high economic potential and a high degree of job satisfaction.
Since 2003, through the National REU Program (NREUP), the MAA has been helping faculty recruit and mentor undergraduate research students from traditionally underrepresented groups. The program began when the MAA conducted a pilot version of this project in summer 2003 using funds from the National Security Agency (NSA) that served eight students at three sites. Since then, NREUP has grown from the pilot program to a fully developed program, having received funding from the Moody Foundation, NSA and NSF.