Math Alliance Research Study logoAs the members of the Math Alliance Research Study (MARS) learn about and advance the understanding of issues relevant to the National Alliance for Doctoral Studies in Mathematical Sciences, briefs on these issues and findings will be shared with the broader community on this page. Check back regularly for the latest briefs and publications. If you have suggestions for future briefs, please contact us using the information at the bottom of the page.

Infographic #6: Participation in Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU's)

Randi Congleton & Martha Makowski

Data for this infographic comes from the answer from undergraduate and graduate students who participated in the online survey distributed by the Math Alliance Research Study in 2013.

Infographic #5: Math Stories: When Alliance Students Chose to Enter Math

Lisa Skultety

The data expressed in this infographic comes from the answers provided by the 88 individuals who took the online survey distributed by the Math Alliance Research Study in the Fall of 2013 and responded to the question "When did you decide you wanted to pursue a degree in the mathematical scienes?" Responses fell into two categories: a specific point in schooling timeline and other influences.

Infographic #4: Campus Climate

Blanca Rincon

This infographic presents data from the student survey on questions asking students about their experiences with discrimination in mathematics.

Infographic #3: Math Identity

Dr. Casey George-Jackson

This infographic presents data on students who identified as mathematicians on our student survey. Statistical details about the nature of that identity are presented.

Infographic #2: Math Alliance Mentor Survey Descriptive Statistics

Blanca Rincon

This infographic presents basic descriptive information about the mentor survey, administered in Fall 2013.

Infographic #1: Math Alliance Pre-Doctoral Scholars' Academic Journey

Lisa Dobson

This infographic uses data from the student survey (discussed in Issue Brief #5) to illustrate the academic journey undergraduate Alliance students plan to take.

Issue Brief #6: Gender and the National Alliance for Doctoral Study in the Mathematical Sciences: The Changing Academic and Career Aspirations of Alliance Students

Martha Makowski

The disproportionately low participation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields has made the career aspirations of mathematically talented students of interest to scholars of higher education. Because members of the National Alliance for Doctorial Study in the Mathematical Sciences (henceforth “the Alliance”) are recruited and encouraged to pursue mathematical careers and exposed, through their membership, to diverse mathematicians and math related careers, the question arises as to whether the aspiration differences between genders still exists for this population. In this study I use the results from a survey of past and present Alliance students to investigate the academic and career aspirations of mathematically talented students, paying particular attention to women.

Math Alliance Research Study: Field of Dreams 2013 Data Summary

Martha Makowski

This one page document summarizes the 2013 Field of Dreams conference and the different data collected by the MARS team.

Issue Brief #5: Math Alliance Research Study: Descriptive Statistics and Initial Findings from the Student Survey

Martha Makowski, Lisa Dobson, Blanca Rincon & Dr. Casey George-Jackson

The Math Alliance Research Study (MARS) is currently investigating the structures of the National Alliance for Doctoral Studies in the Mathematical Sciences (hereafter, “the Alliance”) that promote success in diversifying the mathematical sciences and whether these structures are replicable to other disciplines. Data collection, which began in August 2013 and will continue through the summer of 2014, includes surveys, campus visits, focus groups, interviews, and observations at the Alliance’s annual Field of Dreams conference. This brief introduces the basic design and purpose of the student survey, reports basic demographics of the participating students, and highlights initial findings that will be investigated further in future work by the MARS team.

Issue Brief #4: High School Students who Intend to Major in Math: Differences by Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Confidence Levels

Casey George-Jackson, Ph.D.

This brief presents findings from a study examining high school students who expressed an interest in majoring in mathematics in college. Differences are explored by gender, race and ethnicity, as well as students’ level of confidence in their intended future major and occupational plans. Although descriptive in its nature, the brief aims to provide insight into students’ decision to major in mathematics by focusing on differences in confidence levels, gender, race, ethnicity, and the alignment between their intended college major and future occupational goals.

Issue Brief #3: Effective Practices of Formal Mentoring Programs

Lisa Dobson

It is well documented that women and racial minorities are underrepresented with Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields (National Science Foundation, 2013). Potential explanations include that these students feel unwelcome and unsupported within their academic departments. Mentoring, often in conjunction with other intervention services, can provide access and enable success that these students might otherwise not experience.

Companies, organizations, and institutions commonly implement mentoring in order to support junior members. Mentoring can also be used to socialize novices to the norms or common practices of a particular organization. Mentoring relationships can evolve in an informal or formal context between peers or between an experienced and inexperienced pairing. This brief focuses on formal mentoring relationships between university faculty and students.

Issue Brief #2: Research Experiences for Undergraduates: Current Best Practices

Blanca Rincon

This brief highlights the importance of undergraduate research experiences within the math and sciences, as well as best practices for creating and sustaining science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) intervention programs. The following questions will be explored:

  1. What do we know about Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)?
  2. What are the components that make up an REU? What are current best practices of successful REUs?
  3. What resources are available for those seeking to establish and sustain an REU?

Issue Brief #1: Evaluation vs. Educational Research

Martha Makowski

At first glance, the fields of evaluation and educational research seem similar and, in some important ways, they are alike. Both evaluation and research rely on the collection of evidence to answer questions about a particular group or program. Both also require expertise in study design and methods. However, their intended uses are very different and will be elaborated on in this brief. For the purposes of clarification, the particular case of the evaluation of versus research on bachelor-level STEM intervention programs will be discussed, although research and evaluations can take place in many other program contexts, as well as on policies.