Mar 19, 2012
Research and presentations are important for any undergraduate scholar considering graduate school.
For three Concordia math students, a recent presentation at the Minnesota Capitol also gave them an opportunity to show off their research to people with the power to fund such research.
Austin Bren '12, East Grand Forks, Minn., Michael Dyrud '14, Thief River Falls, Minn., and Kristin Heysse '12, St. Cloud, Minn., spoke to state officials during Private College Scholars at the Capitol in late February.
Another Concordia student, Caitlyn Schuchhardt '12, Aberdeen, S.D., also presented information on her literary research in Minnesota and India, studying how globalization has affected the indigenous population and environment of both regions.
The math scholars shared information about their summer mathematics research with Dr. Oksana Bihun, assistant professor of mathematics at Concordia, that was published last fall in the European Physical Journal.
Their research expanded upon Bihun's work from the previous summer. The scholars methodically broke down long, complex problems into many smaller operations that a computer could use to quickly estimate a solution.
"We spent a large portion of our research looking at Dr. Bihun's paper and trying to get the same results using a different method," Bren says.
They experienced many difficulties along the way, but these struggles led to some of their best discoveries.
"Most of our best work came out of our biggest frustrations," says Dyrud.
For mathematicians, the government is an important relationship. The students' summer research opportunity was funded by national grants.
"The opportunity to present to people from the local government is beneficial for the field of mathematics since it is largely funded by the government," says Bihun.
Bren says the opportunities to research, present and be published are making his journey to graduate school nearly effortless. In addition to the day at the Capitol, the team also presented at a national mathematics conference in Boston, where Bren met scholars and representatives from some of the schools he has applied to for graduate work.
"The graduate schools are very interested in research and presenting," he says. "It has been good to have as much presenting experience as possible."