Summer Program for Women in Mathematics
Student Comments about SPWM

We carry out program evaluations through extensive formal and informal feedback from the participants. We ask the participants to provide written comments at the midpoint and at the end of the program.

Typical comments are:

  • ``I gained a wealth of information and insight. I'm now convinced that I can succeed in grad school.''
  • ``Just being around peers and faculty and other professionals helped a great deal and I've made a [career] decision.''
  • ``I feel the strongest part of this program was the interaction between us the students with faculty, guest speakers, and TAs. I have learned so much from it and it has made this experience one which will have a strong impact on my life hereafter.''
  • ``It was great reading the research papers. It was very encouraging to realize that I know enough to read other people's work.''
  • ``I have grown a great deal mathematically in my short stay. The faculty, students and staff have been crucial to this.''
  • ``I have met many wonderful and exciting people and broadened my understanding about what grad school entails and the subjects I could study to have a prosperous and enjoyable future.''
  • ``This has been an excellent experience. I now feel confident about graduate school. I also feel confident about my choice to be in mathematics... I now know I can succeed in math.''
  • ``The program really did motivate me.''
  • ``I am amazed at how much more aware I am now than I was a month ago.''

This is what a faculty advisor wrote in 1997 about a program participant from our 1995 summer program: ``I believe that [student name]'s summer at GWU changed her life. When she returned to [college name] in September, she was unable to contain her enthusiasm. After her summer experience, she was certain that she wanted to pursue a career as a professor of mathematics. Today, [student name] is in graduate school at the University of Virginia.''

We recently approached all of the program participants for their impressions about the effectiveness of our program.

A participant from our 1995 summer program wrote:

  • ``The summer math program was very beneficial for me. It introduced me to a lot of people who loved math as much as I did and the program gave me an idea of what to expect in grad school. I am glad that I was offered such an opportunity.''

Several participants from our 1996 summer program wrote:

  • ``I believe that the summer program helped me tremendously. It gave me an idea of what grad school would be like and it helped encourage me to go on with my studies. I still keep in touch with a few others so I have also made some lasting friendships. I really think the summer program was very beneficial to me and helped broaden my horizon. Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity.''
  • ``As for the effectiveness of SPWM, the program really helped me a lot to develop more mathematical sophistication and to appreciate the ever-growing world of mathematics. It was also really great to understand math in a more global sense: not only were we taking classes from disciplines we'd never heard of before (Measure Theory), but we were taking classes with people from all over the country, and with teachers from all over the world. So, I really think that this universal aspect of mathematics is something that I only appreciated after the program, and especially now in graduate school. I definitely think that SPWM prepared me for graduate school: at least in the sense that we knew what to expect, and could in some ways determine whether or not we could (or even if we wanted to) rise to the challenge.''
  • ``My impressions of the program..... I think it was one of the most important things I ever did. I needed to be with other girls who were math majors. There were a lot of things we had in common that I didn't get to share with people at my own university. It was an extremely unique situation for me to be in a math class with ALL girls! Really different classroom dynamics in terms of what I did and how we related to each other. Thank you for that opportunity!''
  • ``I think SPWM is a successful program. I think by making it as challenging as it was for us, it helped everyone get a sense for where they were and what the future in grad school would be like.''
  • ``I enjoyed meeting other women interested in math. The whole experience made me really consider going on to graduate school in mathematics, and opened my eyes to all the possible directions I could take. My math classes here didn't really give me the "big picture;" I didn't know that there were so many different fields of mathematics to choose from.

We received the following comments from two participants of our 1997 summer program:

  • ``As for the summer program. I found it very effective. It definitely convinced me to attend graduate school. It also gave me confidence in my abilities. I had a great time there and I enjoyed meeting other women in math and learning new things.''

``I have been in classes for almost a month now, my how times flies. The only math class I am taking now is Abstract Algebra. It is a bit strange knowing that we will not cover the material we learned at the program because that is more advanced than we will get.''


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