Directed Reading Program

The WiM Directed Reading Program (DRP) initiative aims to provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to work with graduate students on a mathematical project. This project could be an introduction to cutting-edge research, setting up the groundwork for a thesis or research project, or a casual survey of an article that would be intimidating to cover on one’s own. 

Each undergraduate (or a team of 2) will be paired with a graduate student based on their survey responses and project preferences. Every week, the undergraduate student(s) will read through some text (roughly 3 hours of independent study) and meet with the graduate student once a week for an hour (or, if they prefer, bi-weekly for two hours) to discuss any questions/ideas. Some typical formats for the meetings are:  

  • The mentor and mentees read a paper/textbook independently and take turns presenting the material to each other.

  • The mentees read through some material and spend the meeting asking the mentor questions. The mentor may assign exercises and reading as needed to aid in understanding the material.

Mentees and mentors are asked to write a short summary of their weekly meetings. In the middle of the term, mentees will write an informal report summarizing what they have learned so far in the program. At the end of the term, each undergraduate student will give a 10-15 minute presentation on something interesting they have learned to all DRP mentors and mentees. Presentations can also be collaborative if there are multiple students in the group, with a presentation on 20-30 minutes. 

There will be other social activities and workshops during the term for all groups to socialize and exchange ideas with each other.

The program will also provide graduate students with the opportunity to gain mentoring experience as they progress toward their next career goals. Graduate students admitted to the program and leading their reading projects to completion will be awarded the Women in Mathematics Directed Reading Program Mentorship (WiM DRP) award, valued at $400. DRP mentors must demonstrate a sustained commitment to mentoring and inspiring undergraduate students who participate in WiM DRP. The award recognizes the valuable time and work that mentors invest in helping the mentees throughout the term to develop insight and skills in mathematics. Recipients will be selected at the end of each term by representatives of the WiM committee based on a review of weekly reports and end-of-term presentations by the undergraduate mentees to demonstrate that graduate mentors fulfilled their requirements. 

The list of WiM DRP projects accepted for Winter 2023 includes: 

  • Graph minors

  • Consensus seeking in multi-agent systems in both continuous time and discrete time protocols

  • An investigation on the spatial autoregressive model

  • Deletion-Contraction polynomial on graphs

  • An introduction to risk optimization in insurance

  • Neural network-based stability analysis for dynamical systems

  • Arrow-Debreu equilibria in competitive markets

  • Incidence structures, graphs, and designs

  • Manifold Garden: a story of black holes, mathematical theory behind black hole physics

  • Representation theory of algebras and applications

For more examples of past DRP projects at our faculty refer to here and for projects at other institutions, see related pages at the University of ChicagoUC Berkeley, and Texas A&M University


Prospective graduate student (mentors) applicants

Graduate students will gain practice in project mentorship and communicating mathematics, and upon completion of the program requirements the WiM DRP award is worth $400, which distinguishes them for their mentorship experience. We expect around 20 hours of commitment during the term. In addition, this is a great way to not only explore new mathematics but also befriend new mathematicians in the faculty!

The program is open to all current graduate students in Math at every stage of their studies. 

Applications for the Spring 23 term will be released around mid-February.

You can submit your proposed directed reading projects to WWIN innovative applications as well and mention you are applying for DRP and you will run the project under the DRP program if accepted.


Prospective undergraduate student (mentees) applicants: 

Each mentee will receive mentoring one-on-one or in teams of two mentees per mentor, experience communicating mathematics, and a certified letter from the WiM committee which they can use in their CV distinguishing them as bright and curious individuals. This is a great way to not only explore new mathematics but also meet new mathematicians!

The program is open to current undergraduate students at every stage of their studies, who identify as women or under-represented gender identities. 

Applications for the Spring 23 term will be released around mid-March.