Open to: Students Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, College Undergraduates
Applications: Closed now. Submit by January 2018, Decisions made in April each year.

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. Additionally, a grand prize winner will have his or her submission published in the AWM Newsletter.

What is the subject of the essay?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.

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).

When is the deadline?

All submissions must be received by January 31 each year.

How should I submit my essay?

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


To increase awareness of women’s ongoing contributions to the mathematical sciences, the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) and Math for America are co-sponsoring an essay contest for biographies of contemporary women mathematicians and statisticians in academic, industrial, and government careers.  


We are currently seeking women mathematicians to volunteer as the subjects of these essays.