Why we should write grants
Congratulations on starting and/or running an AWM Student Chapter! In this post, we will address applying mainly for the MAA Tensor grant to fund the chapter activities, though the advice may apply to other grants, as well.
First of all, we want to encourage Student Chapters to apply for grants for several reasons.
- Availability of funds helps Chapters be more creative about the activities they can organize.
- Writing a grant is a valuable experience. Starting with small grants and successfully completing the proposed project may increase the likelihood of obtaining larger and more substantial grants, not just for AWM activities but for bigger projects.
MAA TENSOR Grant
The MAA Tensor grant is awarded to projects that encourage college and university women and/or pre-college girls to study and persist in mathematics. Although the Tensor Grant awarded projects vary in size and scope, many of them have helped organize AWM Chapter-related events. Here are some of the categories for the grant:
- 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.
The requirements for the MAA Tensor Grant
- 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.
What you need to know to make your application strong
When preparing your application, it is important to think the project through and make sure you have answers to questions such as: is the project realistic? Do you have the necessary resources, such as faculty, students, time, facilities, outreach partners, etc.? What is the impact of the project on the students? What are your goals? Do the activities you propose address your goals?
For example, if you want to set up a mentoring event for college women, are there similarly successful programs that you can draw on? Or, if you want to organize a semester-long event for middle school girls to encourage them to take mathematics classes in high school, what are the reasons you are targeting that particular grade level? Is there research that supports your idea?
Ultimately, if you are able to present a strong case that your proposed project has goals that Tensor Grant can support and your activities are well thought-out and clearly address your goals, you will increase the likelihood of being considered for the award. Last but not least, make sure to have colleagues or former recipients of the award read through your application and give you feedback.
- MAA Outreach Initiative https://www.maa.org/programs-and-communities/outreach-initatives
- Ambassador Program from IAS https://www.math.ias.edu/wam/about/ambassador