UH Hilo awarded NSA grant to promote mathematical sciences

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Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Sam Houston State University in Texas have been awarded a National Security Agency (NSA) grant in excess of $60,000 to provide undergraduate math research training and experience. UH Hilo received nearly $40,000.

The award comes on top of a $1.5 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant the two institutions received last year for the “Pacific Undergraduate Research Experience in Mathematics” (PURE Math) program. UH Hilo’s share of that five-year award totals $707,718.

“This the first time that the University has received NSA funding, which is very exciting,” said Principal Investigator and UH Hilo Assistant Mathematics Professor Roberto Pelayo. “We view the awarding of this grant as their recognition of UH Hilo’s research potential in Math and other scientific fields.”

The program, which is housed at UH Hilo, seeks to increase the number of native Pacific Islanders earning degrees and pursuing careers in the mathematical sciences while providing valuable mentoring experiences to junior faculty by training them in directing undergraduate research.

PURE Math consists of a five-week Interns program and an eight-week Residents program, which will be conducted over five summers. An estimated 114 STEM undergraduates and several junior faculty members who wish to engage students in research are expected to be served over the course of the program.

Last year’s inaugural sessions included mathematics students from the Federated States of Micronesia and Guam. Pelayo is now looking to build on the success of that first year.

"Last summer's session of PURE Math clearly filled a gap,” Pelayo said. “There are almost no other research experiences in advanced Mathematics targeting Pacific Islanders in the state of Hawai'i, so this program is meeting an important need."

Applications for this summer’s PURE Math Intern and Residents programs are now being accepted. The application deadline is February 29th.

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