Mathematical Sciences Grad Students Awarded Assistance By Ken Keatley The numbers are starting to add up for some graduate students in the School of Engineering's Department of Mathematical Sciences. Thanks to a $120,000 Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need program grant, five graduate students who are U.S. citizens will get much-needed financial support this academic year. Mathematical Sciences chair John Wierman said the three-year grant may entice additional top-notch graduate students to the Hopkins program. "In certain subjects, like mathematics, there are very few Americans going on to graduate school and teaching," Dr. Wierman said. "By providing a financial incentive, this grant should help us draw in new students." The department's Graduate Assistance in Mathematical Sciences program was one of 80 to receive GAANN funding this year. The Hopkins program is directed by Professor Daniel Q. Naiman; Assistant Professor Colin O. Wu is the assistant project director. GAANN, administered by the Department of Education, provides grants to academic departments and programs to support fellowships for U.S. citizens who are students of superior ability and demonstrate financial need. Its purpose is to sustain and enhance the nation's capacity for teaching and research in designated academic areas. Each year for three years, an average of $14,500 will be used to defray tuition, living expenses and other educational costs for each of five graduate students. By freeing up departmental funds that might have gone to those students, as many as nine other graduate students will receive support. "This grant allows us to shift some resources and help some other students who were coming here without aid," Dr. Naiman said. "And the students getting the grant money won't have to take jobs as teaching assistants every year. They can devote more time to their own work." Dr. Wierman said about 1,200 doctorates in mathematics are awarded annually in the United States, but only about 500 to U.S. citizens. At Hopkins, the percentage is higher: 21 of the 41 graduate students currently enrolled are U.S. citizens. Grants like GAANN should further help stem the "brain drain" from mathematical sciences programs, which in recent years have been losing students to such areas as computer science. "The general public might not see the need, but shortages in mathematics can eventually hurt American competitiveness," Dr. Wu said. "This grant is good for programs like ours that are trying to grow."
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