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King University’s Tensor Grant for Women and Mathematics receives 50% increase

Community Contributor Laura Boggan • May 24, 2016 at 12:30 PM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — The Tensor Grant for Women and Mathematics by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the Tensor Foundation presented to King University in Aug. 2015, has been both renewed and increased. The grant funds, increased by 50 percent to $6,000, are utilized to encourage women’s participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

King’s project leaders, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Wendy Traynor, Assistant Professor of Biology Laura Kelly Vaughan, and Instructor of Mathematics Martha Liendo, utilized the grant funds to create an on-campus Women in STEM Club (WISC) and professional speaker series titled “STEMulating Conversations.”

“Our goal for the first year of the grant was to start the club with approximately 15 girls,” Traynor said. “By the first meeting, we already had 30 girls join WISC, and by the end of the year we had 45 members. The project turned out to be much bigger than we had planned. When we put our summary report together to apply for grant renewal, we were able to share numerous encouraging outcomes from the club’s first year including offering a wide-range of activities such as talks by a cryptanalyst with the National Security Agency, an epidemiologist, a pharmacist, and a veterinarian. The club also engaged with the community through service with Girls Inc, and TechGYRLS at the Bristol YWCA and sponsoring the first Pi Day Fun Run. The positive impact to King students as well as the surrounding community led the Mathematics Association of America to increase our grant by 50 percent.”

One way in which the Tensor Grant benefits King students is by funding students to travel to and present at STEM-related conferences. “Five of our seniors were able to attend the Southeast Regional Mathematics Association of America Conference thanks to the Tensor Grant,” Traynor says. “We also have several students attending the NIMBioS Annual Undergraduate Research Conference at the Interface of Biology and Mathematics this coming fall. During the upcoming academic year, we hope to add other regional conferences the students may attend.”

Other plans for the Women in Stem Club include a programming retreat and continuation of the “STEMulating Conversations” speaker series.

Contact Wendy Traynor for additional information about the King University Women in Stem Club at (423) 652-4309 or [email protected]