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Biographies Of Contemporary Women In Mathematics Essay Contest

Biographies Of Contemporary Women In Mathematics Essay Contest

To increase awareness of women’s on-going contributions to mathematics, the Association of Women in Mathematics and Math for America are co-sponsoring an essay contest for biographies of contemporary women mathematicians and statisticians in industrial, government, and academic careers. The essays will be based primarily on an interview with a woman currently working in a mathematical career.


Your essay should be based primarily on an interview with a woman currently working in a mathematical career. The submission must be in essay form, not just a transcript of your interview.


Association For Women In Mathematics and Math for America


Winners in each category will receive a monetary prize, and their essays will be published online at the AWM website. The grand prize winner will have his or her entry published in the AWM Newsletter.


January 31 2016


Who can enter?

This essay contest is open to students in the following categories:

  • Grades 6-8
  • Grades 9-12
  • Undergraduate

At least one winning submission will be chosen from each category.

How long should the essay be?

The essay should be approximately 500 to 1000 words in length.

Who can I write about?

  • You may interview and write about any woman currently working in a mathematical sciences career.
  • If you would like to be put in contact with someone who has agreed to be interviewed for this contest, please contact Dr. Joanna Bieri (interviewee coordinator) at Please note that interviewee contacts will only be given out for requests received by January 10 each year.

Here are some suggestions for finding possible women to interview:

  • female math teachers
  • female professors in mathematics at a local college or university (you can try looking up the school’s website and looking for the mathematics department; many departments list their faculty and their email addresses)
  • also consider other mathematical department such as applied mathematics, computer science, statistics, physics, engineering, finance, etc.
  • to find mathematicians from underrepresented minorities, you may want to try the website for the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), or the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).

What should I ask in my interview?

The following questions are suggestions for what ask your interviewee about during the interview:

  • What motivated your interviewee to pursue a career in the mathematical sciences?
  • What is your interviewee’s educational, family and cultural background?
  • What kind of work does she do?
  • Does she have any advice to students who are interested in pursuing a career in the mathematical sciences?
  • What are your interviewee’s hobbies?

How will essays be judged?

Essays will be judged by a panel of mathematicians on content, grammar, and presentation.

What do I need to submit?

A valid submission will contain the following information:

  1. A biographical essay, based primarily on an interview, of approximately 500-1000 words in length, on a woman currently working in a mathematical career.
  2. A short (approximately 100 words) biographical sketch of the student contestant. This biographical sketch should include the student’s name, grade level, school, and mathematical interests.
  3. Information about the student:
    • student’s name
    • address of student (or parent)
    • phone number or email address of student (or parent)
  4. Information about the subject of the biography:
    • name
    • address
    • phone number and/or email address

All information must be submitted using the online submission form (available December 1).

How should I submit my essay?

All information must be submitted using the online submission form (available December 1).

All submissions become the property of the Association for Women in Mathematics.


If you have any problems submitting your essay, please contact Dr. Heather A. Lewis (contest organizer) either by email ( or at the following address:

Dr. Heather A. Lewis
Department of Mathematics
Nazareth College
4245 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14618


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