Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Building a Community of Mathematicians: Dr. William A. Massey, an Applied Mathematician at Princeton University, Considers Numbers at a Conceptual and a Personal Level. by Doing So, He Has Helped to Make Notable Progress in Adding Color-And Valuable Talent-To His Profession

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Building a Community of Mathematicians: Dr. William A. Massey, an Applied Mathematician at Princeton University, Considers Numbers at a Conceptual and a Personal Level. by Doing So, He Has Helped to Make Notable Progress in Adding Color-And Valuable Talent-To His Profession

Article excerpt

"If you want to draw more minorities to the sciences, you have to create a minority science community;' says Massey, the Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Operations Research and Financial Engineering.

Massey was recently awarded the coveted Blackwell-Tapia Prize, named for two distinguished mathematical scientists who have inspired numerous Blacks, Hispanics and American Indians in the field. Awarded every two years, the prize is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution to research, served as a role model and increased representation of minority groups and women in applied mathematics.

"One can excel at both mathematics and mentoring," says Massey. "It was that way for me."

Massey began his career at Bell Labs [later, part of AT&T and then Lucent Technologies], where senior Black scientists thrived, he says. The company paid for his doctorate at Stanford University through their minority fellowship program. For Massey, mentorship means supporting the career development of young men and women whom he regards as his peers and colleagues. To this end, he initiated what is now an annual conference of Black mathematicians, where young scholars can network with their senior counterparts, learn about new research and more. …

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