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Award Abstract #1262852

REU Site: Valparaiso Experience in Research by Undergraduate Mathematicians

Division Of Mathematical Sciences
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Initial Amendment Date: February 5, 2013
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Latest Amendment Date: December 17, 2014
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Award Number: 1262852
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Award Instrument: Continuing grant
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Program Manager: Jennifer Slimowitz Pearl
DMS Division Of Mathematical Sciences
MPS Direct For Mathematical & Physical Scien
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Start Date: March 15, 2013
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End Date: February 29, 2016 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $279,586.00
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Investigator(s): Lara Pudwell lara.pudwell@valpo.edu (Principal Investigator)
Zsuzsanna Szaniszlo (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: Valparaiso University
1700 Chapel Drive
Valparaiso, IN 46383-6493 (219)464-5215
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Program Reference Code(s): 9250
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Program Element Code(s): 7335


The Department of Mathematics & Computer Science at Valparaiso University will host the summer REU site, Valparaiso Experience in Research by Undergraduate Mathematicians (VERUM). VERUM will recruit nine undergraduate students each year. These students will work in teams of three for nine weeks on solving open problems in combinatorics, biomathematics, or statistics. Each group will work with a different project director who will provide guidance and feedback to the students on a daily basis. In each project, the participants will investigate open questions of interest to the larger mathematical community, and therefore yield potentially publishable results. Most of the participants will be students from primarily undergraduate institutions who have not yet decided on a graduate school career path. Therefore we will target undergraduates for a first research experience in mathematics. Additional attention will be given to recruiting participants from groups under-represented in STEM, including first-generation college students since they also will have had less exposure to academic values and processes than their peers.

By modeling the research experience of a mathematician, the program will produce students engaged with, and prepared to join, the mathematical community. The program will emphasize the professional development of the students while encouraging them to pursue mathematics related careers and graduate studies thus increasing the participation of traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM disciplines. Students will become part of a small professional group that will provide support during their undergraduate careers and beyond. As part of the program a graduate student will also act as a mentor for the participants and the students will visit graduate schools to learn about the lives of graduate students in different types of institutions. The students will also be exposed to different areas of mathematics by following the progress of each research group and by listening to and interacting with weekly visitors to the program. VERUM participants will increase their communication and presentation skills through weekly group presentations, presentations at local and national conferences and through writing a final project report.


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