Having the undergraduate students present their research in a supportive environment is very beneficial in motivating them to be consistent in their research, to feel the excitement of the mathematical community, and to prepare for graduate school and career. Therefore, we organize a CURM research conference that each student participant and faculty mentor attends. The conference consists of activities to motivate and intellectually stimulate students to continue to study mathematics and prepare for graduate school, and 20-minute sessions in which the student participants present their research with written feedback and guidance from two CURM professors. Included in the conference are keynote speakers, panel discussions, and social activities to help students build a sense of belonging in the mathematics community.
After presenting their research in the conference setting, students write up a research paper. In this paper we encourage them to not only describe their research but also propose some open problems in the research area that they would have worked on if given more time. Thus, the paper is not only a tangible end product for the initial research group, but it is also a written starting resource with a set of research problems for future undergraduate students who are recruited to work with that professor on research. We require all groups to submit to CURM a final written research paper before the end of May of the academic year. We encourage theCURM professors to have their undergraduate students submit their research papers to refereed journals for publication if appropriate.
The conference is held on Friday through Saturday and usually consists of three components:
- Sessions in which the student participants will be motivated and intellectually stimulated to continue to study mathematics and prepare for graduate school;
- Sessions in which the faculty mentors will report on their research groups, evaluate the effectiveness of the program, and discuss issues concerning future undergraduate research;
- Sessions in which the student participants will present their research with written feedback and guidance from faculty judges.
After the undergraduates attend and present their research during the Student Research Conference, they will be paid $500 which is the next installment of their stipend. Participants’ costs to attend the Student Research Conference will be covered by CURM (up to $650). Students will also be required to submit a final written research paper (by May 31st). Upon receipt of the final research paper and online Student Post-Research Survey, they will receive the final $500 of their stipend.
(Note regarding written research papers: Please include an acknowledgement that “this research was supported by funds from a National Science Foundation grant (#DMS1148695) through the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics (CURM), Brigham Young University, and corporate sponsors.”)