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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee Math Honors Program has been awarded a five-year $1 million grant by the National Science Foundation.

“The NSF recognizes that our program, with its unique combination of a flexible, accelerated curriculum and close faculty mentoring, has been successful in preparing students for some of the best mathematics graduate schools in the country,” said Dr. Conrad P. Plaut, UT professor and associate head for undergraduate and honors studies in the UT Department of Mathematics.

The grant is offered through the NSF Mentoring Through Critical Transition Points program. Funding begins Aug. 1.

Seventy-five percent of funding, or $750,000, will provide students merit and need-based scholarships, research stipends and summer tuition refunds.

“It is important to realize that our program will offer scholarships to both incoming freshmen and current UT students who join the Math Honors Program,” Plaut said. “The goal is not simply to recruit freshmen, but also to reward and encourage UT students whose mathematical talents emerge when they take advanced, abstract math courses.”

The program also will allow graduate students to act as summer research mentors for undergraduates.

A “math ambassadors” program funded by the grant will send honors students into Tennessee high schools to increase interest in mathematics in general and the UT Math Honors Program in particular.

The grant is expected to increase the size of UT’s Math Honors Program by more than 50 percent.

“The UT Math Honors Program provides the atmosphere of a small community of scholars in the context of a large research university,” Plaut said.

Contact: Dr. Conrad P. Plaut (865-974-4319)