Pacific's Nancy Neudauer Helps Land $1.6 Million NSF Grant For Math Research

FOREST GROVE, Ore. — Pacific University’s Nancy Ann Neudauer, the university’s Thomas and Joyce Holce Professor of Science and a professor of mathematics, has helped lead the effort in the award of a $1.6 million National Science Foundation grant to enhance opportunities for undergraduate mathematics research.

The five-year grant, awarded to the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics (CURM), is designed to provide training for faculty in funding research opportunities, with an emphasis on pairings of faculty members at two-year and four-year institutions. Neudauer is one of five co-directors of the consortium, which is based at Occidental College in Los Angeles.

Faculty members will have the opportunity to apply for mini-grants from CURM, which will provide stipends for the development of research projects as well as course credit or stipends for participating undergraduate students.

“The grant largely funds many first-generation college students and students from underrepresented groups in mathematics, including women, that haven’t traditionally studied mathematics at a higher level,” Neudauer said.

The goal of the partnership between two-year and four-year colleges is two-fold: to develop undergraduate research opportunities for first- and second-year students, which largely have not been available in mathematics, and to increase the transfer rates of mathematics students from two-year institutions to four-year schools.

“I hope to learn a lot more about two-year colleges and community colleges through this process as our department continues to reach out to new audiences for recruiting new students, not just from high schools but from surrounding colleges,” Neudauer said.

Founded in 2007, the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics has provided financial support to undergraduate students and faculty from over 100 colleges and universities nationwide. Fifty percent of students participating in CURM are female, 29% are from minority groups and 27% are first-generation students. Data compiled by CRUM indicates that 63% of participants go on to graduate school versus 18% of non-participant math majors.

A member of Pacific’s College of Arts & Sciences faculty since 2001, Neudauer earned her bachelor’s degree in actuarial science and risk management and insurance in 1989, her master’s degree in mathematics in 1994 and her PhD in mathematics in 1998, all from the University of Wisconsin. She has received multiple Fulbright awards for her work to extend mathematics teaching globally.

Pacific University is the only comprehensive university in Washington County, Oregon, serving more than 3,600 undergraduate, graduate and professional students in the arts and sciences, business, education, health professions and optometry.

Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023