In 2012, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), with support from the Sloan Foundation, recruited and trained two teams of African American and Latino American high achieving high school students at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) in Washington DC to participate in the Pan-African Mathematical Olympiad (PAMO) and the Mexican Mathematical Olympiad (MMO) respectively. The students had an interest and aptitude for mathematics, ranged in age from 12 to 17 and hailed from states all over the country including New York, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Puerto Rico and others. The trainers were math instructors from both secondary and higher education backgrounds who were committed to helping diversify the mathematical community.
They connected at these venues with peers from the same background, many of whom are already achieving at a very high level in mathematics. This project was a success and substantially affected the lives of the eight students on the USA teams who travelled to PAMO and MMO as well as a larger group of 20 who attended a ten-day summer training camp at UDC.
In 2015, √mathroots was founded as a three-year pilot project sponsored by the MIT School of Science and the MIT Mathematics department. The program was inspired by the PAMO 2012 pilot project and designed to address the underrepresentation of high achieving Black and Latino students in the competition mathematical community.
√mathroots is hosted by the MIT PRIMES program, and led by MIT faculty, staff, and students with a special interest and background in creative and competitive mathematics. √mathroots was designed to showcase the success of Black and Latino students whose academic successes are far too often overlooked with the hope of inspiring achievement and higher aspirations among many other young people of color.