Title of Project: Two Weeks at WATERLOO - A Summer School for Women in Math

Year of Competition: 2011

Grant amount: $2500

Project Duration: Single Year

Type of Report: Final

Period Covered: August 12-25, 2012

Description of Activity:
"Two weeks at Waterloo - A summer school for women in math" was a two week workshop, held at the University of Waterloo, from August 12-25, for outstanding female undergraduate mathematics students. The purpose of the workshop was to encourage and inspire talented women students to continue their studies in mathematics and to consider graduate work in mathematics. Two mini-courses were offered, Introduction to elliptic curves, taught by Prof. Matilde Lalin (U. Montreal) and Introduction to math biology, taught by Prof. Gail Wolkowicz (McMaster U.). As part of the courses, the students worked in small groups on a research project. Three guest lectures by prominent women mathematicians were given, including one public lecture, and one lecture was given by a pair of women working in industry. Tours were made to meet with female mathematicians in industry at IBM, Manulife and Maplesoft. The students also visited the Fields Institute.

Assessment of Effectiveness:
The program was advertised across Canada and 16 women were chosen from over 50 applicants. They came from 7 provinces and 13 different universities (including two francophones), with most entering their final year of undergraduate studies. The students reported that the school was a worthwhile experience. The majority indicated that they were more interested in graduate school now than they had been before. Many told us how much they enjoyed meeting and doing mathematics with other women students and instructors. They found it helpful to hear the life stories and different career paths of women mathematicians. Major sponsors of the program included the University of Waterloo, Fields and Pacific Institutes, TD and Manulife Financial. Enough funds were raised that all the students travel and living costs were covered.

Future Plans (if any):
We plan to follow up with the students in the future to further judge the effectiveness of the program and hope to engage them in encouraging other women mathematics students. It is our hope that this will become an on-going event.

Our current financial summary follows. The actual expenses might be slightly higher than we are reporting, as there may be a few more taxi/shuttle reimbursements still to come.

Fields Institute$15,000
private alumni donation$5,400
travel costs of 3 students from Quebec ISM (not included in expenses)$-
Total Revenues$48101.46
Treats & Entertainment$781.74
Buses for Field Trips$1361.65
Total Expenses$40,629.32

The University of Waterloo provided lecture halls, administrative and computing support, coordinated fundraising, and was ready to shoulder cost overruns.

Unused funds from our corporate sponsors will either be rolled over to a future offering of our program, or diverted to our Women in Math Scholarship fund.

Contact Name: Barbara Csima and Kathryn Hare

[September 29, 2012]