The LSU department of mathematics has embarked on a renewed initiative to recruit and mentor students from the historically under represented minority groups in mathematics and physical sciences. By establishing a comprehensive program of intervention at critical nodes of the students’ academic careers, the initiative hopes to ease the transition from one stage to another of its participants. Partially funded by Louisiana board of regents, the project strategically aims to foster enthusiasm, interest and competence among its participants and help them become successful in their chosen careers. As such the initiative consists of three separate yet vertically integrated programs.
- ACT prep academies for high school seniors and juniors.
- Summer mathematical institutes for college seniors and juniors who have expressed interest to get into graduate mathematics programs.
- Summer ACT math circles.
- Implementation of academic year Mathematics Interest Groups (MIG) for a comprehensive academic advising, counseling and mentoring of minority mathematics students at LSU.
ACT prep academies: These academies are offered to minority LSU applicants during the Spring semester in March/ April and during the Summer semester in May/ June. The overall goal of these academies is to help students to do well on ACT exams to enhance the students’ chances of getting into universities and colleges of their choices. However, the summer portion of the program also caters to those high school seniors who have shown interest to attend LSU but have scores slightly below what the university requires for admission. By an arrangement with the LSU office of admissions, the summer ACT prep academy recruits and invites such students for a two week residential intensive ACT preparation. At the end of the program students are expected to take the ACT exam and in the likely event of an improvement in their scores the office will review the applications and grant admissions as they are due.
Summer mathematical institutes for seniors and juniors: (Regrettably this program will not run during the summer of 2013) These institutes try to address the needs of minority students to navigate graduate programs related to mathematics. These three week sessions, not only provide ample information about matters involving graduate programs, but will also have an intensive math specific educational component geared to give the participants a head start in preparation to the general exams, which practically every graduate program administers to students at the end of the first year tenure of a graduate student. In so doing, the institute aims to enhance the enthusiasm and interest of its participants in mathematics by introducing the students early to graduate level mathematical content in a slower pace as well as foster the need for a hard and disciplined effort to succeed in graduate school. The successful program is in its fourth year and pending a final approval is funded through 2012 by the Louisiana board of regents. The 2012 session will accept 10 students and slated to meet tentatively through May 14 - June 01, 2012. Participants in the program will receive a stipend in the amount of \$1250 per student. The program will also provide \$1200 to cover room and board for the duration.
Summer ACT Math Circles: These are 3-week summer enrichment programs which appeal to those minority high school seniors who not only like to improve on their ACT scores but also have interest in investigating concepts in mathematics that are not usually covered in high school.