The National Science Foundation awarded $1 million to the Department of Mathematics at Fresno State to provide scholarships for low-income math majors with academic promise.

Fresno State’s Mentoring Math Scholars for Success (M2S2) program includes rigorous investigation of what learning strategies work best for the target student population.

“M2S2 provides a customized bundle of financial, academic and student services so that high-promise, low-income students in the San Joaquin Valley will thrive at Fresno State,” said Provost Lynnette Zelezny, co-principal investigator for the program. “The outcomes from M2S2 will be useful at universities nationwide, helping to move the U.S. closer to maintaining a nationally available pool of mathematics talent.”

Dr. Oscar Vega, a Fresno State mathematics professor, said industry prospects are promising for mathematicians in California. “We designed the program to build a strong pre-research environment, creating a path that yields student scholars who are well prepared for jobs that require an inquisitive mind,” said Vega, the principal investigator who will provide daily leadership for the project with his colleagues Dr. Tamas Forgacs, Dr. Carmen Caprau and Dr. Jenna Tague.

Students will experience an intense, 18-credit pathway focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses. The curriculum will include specially designed problem-solving challenges intended to stimulate students’ interest in mathematical research. To strengthen their success in the pre-research environment, students will receive mentoring from faculty and high-achieving peers.

Universities throughout the country will be able to apply and adapt the findings to improve retention of low-income students with demonstrated academic promise.

For more information, contact Dr. Gil Harootunian, director of University Initiatives, at or 559.278.4850.