The mathematics department at Augsburg has a strong tradition of involving undergraduate students in cutting-edge research projects. Whatever your interest, you can certainly find it in the math department. You can be deeply involved in a faculty member’s research, investigate your own ideas with a faculty mentor, or pursue an internship with some of the many companies in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Below is a sampling of some of the most recent undergraduate research projects.
Chue Xue Lee (’11)
Project title: Modeling Heat-Shrinkable Film
Faculty mentor/company/sponsor: Dr. Pavel Belik, Mathematics Department
Project Funding: 3M and Dean’s office
Description of project: A computational model developed previously is utilized to study the behavior of a polymeric thin film that undergoes a shape change under a temperature change. In particular, an attempt is made to discover whether there are nonzero threshold values for the size of the heated region and the intensity of the heat below which the film’s shape remains unchanged.
Best part about your project? The best part of the project is the learning experience. I learned so much from the project over the summer. I am very thankful that I was given the opportunity to work on this project with Pavel Belik.
Andrew Bergeson (’09)
Project title: Modeling Carbon Fluxes in the Environment
Faculty mentor/company/sponsor: Dr. John Zobitz, Mathematics Department
Project Funding: NASA space Grant
Description of project: By using satellite and tower based measurements, it was possible to make a multi-year model of Net Ecosystem exchange.
Best part about your project? I was able to learn new skills in Modeling using a computer. I also gained greater knowledge of the math concepts I have learned in class and made a good relationship with a faculty member.
Words of wisdom? Research is a great way to use the knowledge you learn in class! Doing research gives you a better understanding of concepts and also a greater appreciation for what you’ve learned.
Al Garver (’09)
Project title: “An Econometric Analysis of Student Achievement in Minnesota”
Faculty mentor/company/sponsor: Dr. Stella K. Hofrenning, Economics Department
Project Funding: URGO
Description of project: I investigated the impact of different variables on eighth grade students’ performance on the Minnesota Basic Skills Test.
Best part of project: My favorite part of the project was conducting an exhaustive literature review and getting a sense of all the research relating into the topic.
Words of wisdom? The URGO summer research program was a great introduction to being part of a large research project. I think the experience should be had be all students.
Ashley Gruhlke (’09)
Project title: Modeling Learning algebra in context: MAT 105 Applied Algebra
Faculty mentor/company/sponsor: Dr. Su Dorée, Mathematics Department
Project Funding: Summer URGO funds
Description of project: This project was a collaboration to update and rewrite the MAT 105, Applied Algebra course textbook. The main focus of the updates was the utilization and incorporation of contextual mathematics.
Best part about your project? The best part of this project was the opportunity to expand my own philosophies on mathematics education. With my research I will be able to expand on these ideas in the classroom, and in future research opportunities.
Words of wisdom? If you are even a little curious about the research possibilities you could be a part of, go for it! Doing research in this type of setting is more than worthwhile. Being a part of such a great opportunity looks good on resumes, shows that you have a drive for deeper comprehension, and you can get paid. You really can’t pass it up.