Today@Sam Article

Program Allows Students To Research With Top Professors

July 29, 2015
SHSU Media Contact: Tammy Parrett

Sam Houston State University’s Department of Math and Statistics recently conducted its second annual Research Experience for Undergraduates program, allowing 14 students from across the country to study under mathematics professors in a number of areas.

The program was founded in 2014 by professors of mathematics Scott Chapman and Ken Smith on a three-year grant funded by the National Science Foundation.

SHSU REU is a nine-week summer program designed to offer undergraduate students an opportunity to study open research problems in mathematics alongside SHSU faculty with considerable experience in leading undergraduate research.

The 2015 program is led by a number of SHSU faculty members, including Smith, associate professor of mathematics John Alford, and assistant professors of mathematics Brandy Doleshal, Taylor Martin and Ed Swim.

Students are placed into three teams, where they researched one of the topics chosen for the program: mathematical modeling of ecosystems, knots and links, and strongly regular cayley graphs.

“These 14 students explore open research in microcosm and gain experience in understanding the professional life of the mathematician,” said Smith. “Their work contributes to the understanding of the mathematical frontier. They are challenged to see the creative and artistic side of mathematics.”

More than 180 students applied to take part in the program, and were narrowed down to 12 students from institutions such as Colgate University, Bryn Mawr College, University of Rochester, James Madison University, Marquette University, Shippensburg University, College of the Holy Cross, Marlboro College, Indiana University, Florida International University, Goucher College, and Gustavus Adolphus College. 

Two SHSU students, Abigail Miller and Megan Roddie, were also chosen to participate in the program with support from the dean of the College of Sciences and the Avila Undergraduate Research Award.

“Sam Houston math faculty explore innovative ways to stimulate mathematical creativity and promote the excitement of mathematics,” Smith said. “This NSF funded project puts our work on a national stage, and the success of this program strengthens our nation’s pool of scientists and mathematicians. With generous support both from the dean of the College of Sciences and the Avila Undergraduate Research Award, we have been able to demonstrate that SHSU math majors can and should be engaged in active research, just like these exceptional students from other schools.”

REU participants received a $4,500 stipend, round-trip transportation to and from Huntsville and paid housing for the duration of the program.

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