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Grant Supports Mathematics Education

Mathematics Education at UCR Gets a Boost

U.S. Department of Education grant allows UCR to develop a year-round program for girls interested in mathematics-based careers

(August 21, 2005)

Array of diamond atoms

Array of diamond atoms

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — —The University of California, Riverside has received a $482,000 federal grant to create a program highlighting the importance of mathematics-based careers for middle-school girls and ensuring they develop the skills to achieve such goals.

The funding will also support efforts to increase the number of female mathematics majors who pursue teaching as a career.

The goal of Isis, the two-year U.S. Department of Education grant to the ALPHA Center at UCR, is to target middle-school girls at low-performing schools, and undergraduate female students at UCR, for participation in a yearlong program that hits hard the knowledge needed to excel in high school and college mathematics while stressing the options available for young women in mathematics-based careers.

Under the program, named for the Egyptian goddess of wisdom, a group of 250 middle-school girls will receive instruction, tutoring and mentoring from middle-school teachers, with undergraduate students and faculty members from UCR.

Assistant Vice Provost of Academic Partnerships and ALPHA Center Executive Director Pamela Clute, along with Isis Program Coordinator Judy Lee, expect to begin program activities in the fall.

“We’re seeking with this program to make a tangible difference in the attitudes girls have toward learning mathematics so they will choose to take more, and tougher, courses that are mathematically based,” said Clute. “We’re also hoping that this program will move more of our undergraduates toward a commitment to becoming teachers.”

Isis will also create opportunities for parents and guardians — through a series of Saturday seminars — to learn more about mathematics at the middle-school level so they can provide additional help and guidance to their children.

The program establishes an academic, financial and mentoring support system for participating female undergraduates who are considering teaching as a career or are pursuing mathematics-related advanced degrees. By working closely with UCR faculty mentors and classroom teacher mentors, participating college students will forge valuable relationships and learn about the teaching profession.

“We need female undergraduates who want to become teachers and we are willing to focus on anyone who’s made the commitment to become a quality teacher,” Clute said.

She added that programs like Isis are but one instance of UC Riverside’s commitment to improved mathematics education through the efforts of the ALPHA Center, the Graduate School of Education, the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, and campuswide involvement in the University of California’s Mathematics and Science Initiative which is part of the compact with the Governor.

Isis organizers expect the program to make an impact in three broad areas:

  1. increase the pool of middle-school girls taking more and tougher mathematics classes with success,

  2. build parental and guardian awareness of and support for middle school girls’ needs to succeed in mathematics,

  3. increase the number of female undergraduates pursing degrees in teaching or in advanced studies in mathematics by providing academic, financial and mentoring support.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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