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Tensor Women and Mathematics Grants

The Tensor Foundation has provided funding to support projects designed to encourage college and university women and pre-college girls to study and persist in mathematics. On behalf of the Tensor Foundation, the MAA encourages college, university, and secondary mathematics faculty (in conjunction with college or university faculty) and their institutions to submit proposals to the Tensor Women and Mathematics Program. Projects may replicate existing successful projects, adapt components of such projects, or be innovative. Possible projects, all of which have a strong mathematical component, are to:

  • organize a club for women interested in mathematics or mathematics and science;
  • create a network of women professional mentors who will direct mathematics projects for girls;
  • hold a conference for counselors to prepare them to encourage women and girls to continue to study mathematics;
  • conduct a summer mathematics program for high school women;
  • bring high school women onto a college campus for a Math Day with substantive follow-up;
  • structure a program for high school and/or college women to mentor younger female mathematics students with math projects or math clubs;
  • form partnerships with industry to acquaint women students with real-life applications of mathematics;
  • provide funds toward release time to allow a faculty member to prepare a course on women and mathematics, provided the host institution agrees to offer such a course.

Read about our 2019 awarded programs here.


The objectives of the MAA Tensor Women and Mathematics Program are to:

  • encourage college and university mathematics faculty to develop projects to increase participation of women in mathematics; and
  • provide support to project directors.

Nature of the Grant

Grants will be up to $6,000 and will be made to the college or university associated with the project director for a one-year project. An institution is expected to supply matching funds or in-kind support as an indication of commitment to the project. These grants will not support any institutional indirect costs or provide fringe benefits. To provide maximum flexibility, unexpended funds may be carried forward. Some grants, after a reapplication, may be renewed for another year, with a maximum of three grants.

Who May Apply

Applications will be accepted from college and university mathematics faculty or pre-college mathematics teachers working in conjunction with college and university faculty. The application period for the 2020 award cycle is now closed. 

Characteristics of Effective Programs

While differences occur among highly successful projects, there are some characteristics that effective projects targeting women and girls appear to have:

  • Clearly articulated goals and measurable objectives;
  • Strong academic component, with a focus on enrichment, not remediation;
  • Information on careers that use mathematics extensively;
  • Teaching strategies that take into account the needs and cognitive development of women and girls;
  • Teachers highly competent in the subject matter who believe that women can learn the material;
  • Use of appropriate role models;
  • Strong directors and committed and stable staff;
  • Ability to respond to the participants' needs and interests before, during, and after the program
  • Development of a peer support system;
  • Institutional commitment;
  • Programs that last longer than one-day events.

Submission of Proposals

Please submit all proposal materials by the deadline. Proposals received after the deadline will not be considered. Proposals from the same institution of higher education may submitted to both the Tensor Women and Mathematics and Tensor-SUMMA programs, but must support different programs and must have different personnel.

Proposals will be evaluated by a panel, which typically includes members of the MAA Committee on Participation of Women, Women & Mathematics Network, other members of the MAA, and a trustee of the Tensor Foundation acting as an adviser. You will receive notification of the outcome of your proposal by the end of March.

Make sure you have the following documents ready as separate PDF files as you will be asked to upload them in appropriate sections of your application:

  • CVs of Project Director and any Co-Directors* (2 page limit per CV);
  • Project Description* as specified below;
  • Budget Justification*, as specified below;
  • Letter(s) of Recommendation* from your department chair or other appropriate institutional administrator indicating their support of the project;
  • If the proposal is a renewal, state the year or years that funding had previously been granted and upload a two-page summary of progress to date, a brief overview of any evaluation results, and a budget summary of money expended to date;
  • Other relevant documents.

Please be prepared to include the name and mailing address of a Financial Officer in charge of this grant. The Financial Officer should be a person in your institution who will accept the award check for this grant, insure that the funds are available to the project team, and help the Project Director with preparing the final expenditure report on the project.

Find answers to some of our most commonly asked questions here.

Project Description

The following guidelines should be addressed in the order listed using a font of 11 or 12 point and not exceeding 5 pages:

  • Concept: What are your ideas and philosophy about mathematics and education that form a basis for your project?
  • Goal Statement: What is your overarching goal for the project?
  • Rationale: In what way will your institution be a welcome host for the project?
  • Objectives: What are the objectives of your project?
  • Activities: What tasks do you plan to undertake for your project? Describe the mathematics content and activities you expect to provide participants.
  • Personnel: Other than the proposed project director, who else will be involved in the project? How?
  • Evaluation: How will you judge the success of this project?
  • Commitment: What is the potential for long-term commitment of the host institution?
  • Future funding: What is the likelihood of institutionalization through local or state funding after start-up funding from the Tensor Foundation?
  • Timeline: When will you carry out the activities?

Budget Justification

The proposal's budget justification should include enough comments to explain the cost of the item and why it is necessary for the project's activities. The justification should also include information on additional financial and in-kind support you may have for this project. Proposals that focus spending on project participants are found more favorable. Appropriate spending categories are:

  • Student stipends
  • Student support expenses
  • Senior project personnel
  • Other personnel
  • Travel
  • Supplies
  • Other direct costs

Please note: Tensor Foundation grants do not support fringe benefits. 

Contact Information

For further information about the program, please contact MAA Programs or MAA Tensor Program Director Rachelle DeCoste.

For consultation on your ideas for projects, proposers are encouraged to contact the MAA Tensor Program Outreach Director Florence Fasanelli, or by phone at 202-966-5591.