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Summer Undergraduate Applied Mathematics Institute

Goals of the Institute

Undergraduate students often are unclear on exactly what graduate study and research will require of them and what it can offer them; unfortunately, many talented students decide against graduate studies in part because of this uncertainty. Our program is designed to help students make a rational decision by giving them a taste of the graduate experience, without excessive cost of time in their careers. The course-work, while at a level appropriate to Juniors and Sophomores, is taught at graduate-level intensity, and the projects offer the chance to discover the pleasures, and frustrations, of attacking open-ended research problems. The students are given the opportunity to interact with current graduate students.

We also aim to introduce students to areas of research in applied mathematics with which they may not be familiar, both through the project work and through a series of seminars by research faculty and graduate students.

Finally, the students in the Institute will leave CMU with tangibles: tools from the analysis and Maple courses which will prove of service in their continuing undergraduate and their graduate studies, and intangibles: the pleasure of working with and hanging out with students with similar interests from very different geographic and cultural backgrounds.

Summer Institute Students' Responses

What were your expectations for the Summer Institute?

"I wanted to know what graduate life was like to help me decide if I was really as dedicated as I believed I was."

"The Summer Institute definitely lived up to my expectations. Most importantly, it helped to expose weaknesses that I need to work hard at erasing before I go to grad school."

What aspects of the Summer Institute should we be sure to retain?

"Keep the same professors who have the love of the subject."

"The involvement that all of you showed, working with us, talking to us, helping us any time was wonderful. Your commitment was beautiful."

Has the Summer Institute had any effect upon your thinking about career choices?

"It has opened my eyes to career possibilities in applied math."

"Yeah. I knew I might not want to do bio, now I know I might not want to do math."

" It hasn't changed them, but helped me understand better what I needed to do to get where I need to go."

Would you recommend the Summer Institute to a good friend?

"Absolutely. It is the type of experience needed to wake up someone who thinks math is extremely easy."

"Of course! Honestly, this program has taught me a lot about what it takes to be a mathematician."

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