Iowa State University is using a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to lead an initiative aimed at drawing more students of color into mathematics. Assistant math professor Michael Young will oversee the effort. He says few blacks and Hispanics are attracted to mathematics because they don’t see anyone who looks like them in the field.
“I went through college and graduate school, almost 10 years of schooling, and I never saw a black mathematician,” he says.
Young is looking to change what he sees in his own classroom.
“Currently I’m teaching Calculus 1, I have more than 400 students, fewer than 10 of them are black,” he says.
The grant will help form a network of mathematicians of color to serve as mentors for students in Central Iowa schools.