First cohort completes math REU

First cohort completes Math REU

Published: September 4, 2015

By Nicole Watkins

Students from universities across the nation participated in UW Bothell’s first Math Summer Research Experience (REU). This rare opportunity for undergraduates was co-directed by associate math professors Jennifer McLoud-Mann, Ph.D. and Casey Mann, Ph.D. The eight week program, funded by the National Science Foundation, was developed to increase participation of underrepresented groups in mathematical research, including first generation students, women, and people of diverse racial backgrounds. A major in math was not a prerequisite and each student received a stipend and on-campus housing costs are paid by the program.

The Math REU focused in three different areas with mentors in each. Mann mentored students in tiling theory, McLoud-Mann mentored in knot theory and Milagros Loreto, Ph.D. in spectral subgradient methods for optimization.

Morgan Ascanio and Mike Emerick-Cayton are both seniors majoring in Math at UW Bothell. “This experience has been amazing. I was debating grad school, but this program allowed me to taste what five years as a Ph.D. student is like,” explains Ascanio. “I definitely feel very prepared for this coming season thanks to this program.”

Not only did students engage in Ph.D.-level research, they also engaged with graduates from their chosen field of study. “REU had grad school panelists come and tell us what grad school was like and what it takes to get in,” explains Emerick-Cayton. “It has helped me decide that it is something that I really enjoy doing.”

The Math REU also provides professional development opportunities. Some participants will travel to conferences to present their findings. “I like working with undergraduate students on unsolved problems to share that first research experience,” McLoud-Mann explains. “They see the process, continue on a path to graduate school, to continued research. It’s exciting.”

For more information for the 2016 Math REU program or to apply, click here.