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The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded the Department of Mathematics at Texas A&M University a major infrastructure grant for "Vertical Integration of Research and Education in the Mathematical Sciences" (VIGRE). The grant was initially awarded for three years, starting June 1, 2000, and then renewed in the Spring of 2003 for two additional years (through May, 2005). This prestigious award is one of about three dozen active VIGRE grants nationwide. (A list of all VIGRE awards is available at the Penn State Mathematics Department web site.)

The stated goal of the NSF for the VIGRE program is "to increase the number of U.S. citizens, nationals, and permanent residents who receive training for and subsequently pursue careers in the mathematical sciences." At Texas A&M University, the Department of Mathematics has implemented an innovative program to involve undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty in collaborative research and educational activities. The aim of vertical integration is both to broaden the training of the participants and to encourage them to continue to the next level of a career in the mathematical sciences. The funds provided by the VIGRE program are used to support postdocs, and graduate students to give them reduced teaching loads in order to allow them to concentrate more on their research. VIGRE funds also provide stipends for undergraduates who are interested in participating in research activities.

The core element of our VIGRE program is the supplementation of our advanced research seminars (designated as "upper seminars", where faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and senior graduate students interact) by a network of (lower) VIGRE seminar courses (where undergraduate students and graduate students interact with each other and with postdoctoral fellows and regular faculty). In this network of "lower seminars", students engage in collaborative research projects, gain exposure to topics that are not covered in standard courses, and enhance their communication skills. Participation in the lower seminars by senior graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and regular faculty results in opportunities for mentoring at several levels.

The following links lead to more detailed information about the activities associated to our VIGRE program.