The purpose of the Sampling Advanced Mathematics for Minority Students (SAMMS) is to inspire students from under-represented minorities to pursue graduate studies in STEM fields with an emphasis on graduate education in mathematics. At the same time the program is demystifying graduate school, making graduate school attendance an achievable and desirable goal.
The SAMMS program provides students with a “sample” experience similar to what they would have in an established graduate math program at a large state university. An immersive core mini-course program provides experiences representative of rigorous graduate course work. Building in part on this is a set of research experiences (REUs) which will be organized (for each iteration of the program) in follow-up Summers and, analogous to the course component, will provide a sampling of graduate research. These and further activities combine to a comprehensive view of graduate school with all of its components in a realistic yet nurturing environment.
The desired goal of SAMMS is that students will understand better the value of attending a strong graduate program; through a positive experience and first hand insights, they will gain the confidence needed to pursue a graduate career.
A measure of our success is the fact that a large majority of past participants are already in graduate programs or applying to graduate school. The significant impact SAMMS has had on perceptions of graduate school among minority students has been echoed in many accounts of “eye-opening” experiences described each year in the anonymous student feedback surveys.