Dr. Leslie Ain McClure, professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health, has been named to a newly created position as the Associate Director of Diversity for the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute(SAMSI). SAMSI is part of the Mathematical Sciences Institutes program of the Division of Mathematical Sciences at the National Science Foundation. By adding McClure in this role, the organization aims to help increase the diversity of students and faculty who are exposed to math and statistics.
Since 2015, Dr. McClure has been on the Board of Directors for the National Alliance for Doctoral Studies in the Mathematical Sciences (www.mathalliance.org), a program with a goal of increasing the number of students getting PhDs in Math Sciences who are underrepresented in the field. The Math Alliance builds relationships between faculty mentoring mathematically promising undergraduate students and faculty who are in primarily graduate degree-granting programs. The program relies on involvement from graduate degree-granting programs – including the Dornsife School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics – that have a strong history of successfully mentoring underrepresented minorities.
At SAMSI, Dr. McClure previously helped to organize and lead a workshop that introduced statistics and applied math programs to the Math Alliance.
“If we can continue to increase diversity among people choosing careers in mathematics and statistics, we can increase the breadth and depth of the questions we ask and the solutions we find to those questions,” said Dr. McClure. “Only with a diversity of people can we truly have a diversity of ideas.”
SAMSI’s two main programs this year (2016-17) are a Program on Optimization as well as a Program on Statistical, Mathematical and Computational Methods for Astronomy. Next year (2017-18), featured SAMSI programs include Mathematical and Statistical Methods for Climate and Earth Systems as well as Quasi-Monte Carlo and High-Dimensional Sampling Methods for Applied Mathematics. In addition, there will be undergraduate workshops, as well as workshops for graduate students.
Dr. McClure hopes her efforts result in increased diversity among the participants in each of these SAMSI programs.