Press Release | WIAS | 30-06-2020

Master students program aimed specifically at women

Girls and boys are equally good at math – this is now an accepted fact, thanks to the academic performance of girls.

WIAS-Masterandinnen Program

And gone are the days when women were underrepresented in math programs at university. But what about the next level up? Professor Dietmar Hömberg from WIAS reports: “Although a high percentage of math graduates are female, the proportion of women who apply to do a PhD falls abruptly. We thought about how to reach out to good female students, building a bridge before they move away from science.”

A Female Master Students Program was launched at WIAS in May. Students on the program are integrated into a concrete research project as student assistants. In the context of this activity, they have the opportunity to write their Master’s thesis, under the supervision of WIAS. Involvement in challenging research projects in an international environment and the typical WIAS applications offer participants an excellent starting point for a professional career in industry, business or research.

Student Kathrin Völkner is delighted to be able to write her Master’s thesis at WIAS: “This way, I gain an insight into contemporary research in mathematics. It will definitely help me to decide whether I want to remain in academia after graduating.” Kathrin Völkner considers it very important to promote women. When she started studying, there was a tendency among her male colleagues to have greater confidence in themselves, whereas some of the women seemed to be less sure of their abilities. This meant that they were often underestimated. “But this changed as the program progressed,” reports Kathrin Völkner. “The women’s expertise soon put an end to that, many then perceived them differently.”

Luisa Plato is also pleased to be given this opportunity at WIAS: “I am particularly interested in applications of math.” In her Master’s thesis, she will address the topic of biological pest control: How can beneficial organisms be used to target pests? Luisa Plato believes that the Female Master Students Program is a good way of attracting women to science. But she also sees it as just one of many elements: “We need to get girls fired up about math at school, and the issue of striking a balance between work and family life is very important after graduation.”


Weierstrass Institut für Angewandte for Applied Analysis and Stochastics
Research Group "Nonlinear Optimization and Inverse Problems"
Prof. Dr. Dietmar Hömberg
Phone +49 30 20372-491