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being minority in math PhD program


elie_il
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Hi everyone,

I'm applying to PhD programs in pure mathematics, and I had some concerns about what will happen next year; I'm wondering if any of you have the same concerns or have similar experiences. To give some background, I'm a woman in pure mathematics, and I've had some pretty negative experiences in undergrad that I believe were linked to this fact, to the point that I realized that I'm often scared to work with other students in the field (e.g. problem sets, general discussions about math, etc), even though I know that I'm a pretty competent mathematician and have been accepted to a "prestigious" PhD program already.

I've concluded through lot of the very passive-aggressive comments I've gotten over the past four years of undergrad (e.g. "getting through this major must be easy for you, all you have to do is bat your eyebrows at the guys and you'll get help," "I don't think you can handle anything like my math course load."), that the actually competent people don't say these things and tend to be generally kind and understanding, and that these comments mostly come from very insecure math majors. Even knowing this, I'm pretty worried about next year, and I would really like to start my graduate career on a positive note. I know I should ignore such comments, but they do affect my self-confidence, and confidence is really important in mathematics.

Does anyone have any advice or experience regarding this? Thanks in advance :)

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Hi! I'm not in a pure math program so I might not be too helpful, but I am a woman in computer science. I find that this corner of gradcafe does not have very many women so I'd suggest posting on Reddit (especially a forum for women in STEM) to get more responses. 

Also, congrats on getting into a good PhD program! 

Edited by peanutjellyfish
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@elie_il , I am not from pure math but I've been a girl/woman in men dominated fields since high school, so I could relate well to your post.

Here's a link to something I've read earlier this week and I hope can cheer you up: https://www.quantamagazine.org/carolina-araujo-is-building-a-network-of-women-in-mathematics-20190122/ Feel free to send a PM if you want to talk :) And congrats on the PhD acceptance! 

 

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