It’s summertime in Aggieland, and one thing that means is an influx of students from across the United States participating in Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) grants at the university. The Math Department is only one of many National Science Foundation-funded REU sites at Texas A&M. The Math department has been running an REU site every summer since the program was started in 1999. This summer, we have 14 students, 8 women and 6 men, with us for 8 weeks. Five students are participating in the program in Number Theory, five in Mathematical Modeling in Biology, and four in Algorithmic Algebraic Geometry. The Algebraic Geometry group is supplemented by two local undergraduates.
Students generally have lectures and homework to deal with for the first two weeks of the program. This familiarizes them with the foundational mathematics they will need for the research problems they’ll be working on. By the middle of the second week, they are given research problems and get started trying to solve them.
This past Friday, the last day of the second week of the program, all the students and mentors in our REU got together for lunch. Students gave short presentations describing their research problems. At the end of the fourth and sixth weeks of the program, we’ll get updates from everyone on their projects. At the end of the eighth week of the program, we have a Minisymposium, where all our REU students present their results.