The University of West Georgia recently played host to a select number of exceptional undergraduate math majors through the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. Dr. Bruce Landman, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics, and Dr. Abdollah Khodkar, professor, served as senior faculty advisors. This year's program is the second installment of the highly competitive three-year National Science Foundation REU grant.

Dr. Bruce Landman and Dr. Abdollah Khodkar standing with this year's class of REU participants
Dr. Bruce Landman, left, and Dr. Abdollah Khodkar, right, stand with this year's class of REU participants.

This year, the program accepted nine students who lived on campus for eight weeks during the summer. In addition to a stipend, room and board, and reimbursement for travel expenses, the participants were able to work with a faculty mentor, attend several lectures by visiting speakers, give oral presentations of their work at weekly seminars, write a mathematics research paper, and were given the opportunity to attend a mathematics conference.

Loyola University Chicago student Kajal Chokshi said she was attracted to the program because she has always been interested in number and graph theory.

“It’s a great way to understand math research a little better, make new friends, and overall get a better understanding of what you like and dislike and if you could see yourself pursuing a higher degree in the field,” she shared. “In addition, my acceptance into the program was very warm. I received a phone call instead of an email, and it was just a nice inviting touch that Dr. Landman and Dr. Khodkar really wanted us to feel welcome.”

Harry Choi of Pomona College said he applied to UWG’s REU program because of its reputation and the opportunity to interact with like-minded peers.

“Not only does having done research, or even better having a paper published, significantly increase the chances of admission into graduate school, the experience of doing research will well prepare and help on the decision to proceed to graduate school,” he explained. “In addition, I saw the interactions with other students that would come from the program as a way to learn more about how other mathematics students plan their future, how they approach research, and other valuable sharing of information.”

Other 2015 REU students who participated are Nicholas Butler-Bohall, University of Washington; Alexander Clifton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Lisa Mueller, California State University, Fullerton; Jacklyn Emrich, Loyola University Maryland; Leanna O’Brien, University of South Carolina; Hannah Kimbrell, Clemson University; and Oliver Swain, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Posted on July 29, 2015