Current Student Spotlight

Katie Sippel

Katie Sippel

1. What is the name of the REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) program that you participated in and where did it take place? How long did the program last?

During the summer of 2017 I participated in the Auburn University REU in Algebra and Discrete Mathematics in Auburn, Alabama. The program was an 8 week research program

2. How were you compensated for participating in the program?

I was given a $4,000 stipend plus on-campus housing for my participation in the program.

3. What was the focus of the program? What exactly were your duties and/or your assignments during the program?

The focus of my program was to get experience in math research while still in the undergraduate level. Specifically, my program focused on Algebra and Discrete mathematics. During the week we would attend lectures given by professors from a range of specialties, as well as some from graduate students and other undergraduates participating in the REU. These lectures ranged in topic from Graph Theory, Design Theory, Number Theory, and more. Our duty as participants in the REU was to attend these lectures, give at least one lecture ourselves, and then do as little or as much additional math research as we wanted on either topics discussed during the lectures, or topics that we were just simply interested in. A lot of the research that was done by us undergraduates was a combination of individual research as well as collaborative work with others in the REU.

4. What do you feel that the benefits were of participating in this program?

This program had many benefits for me as well as for my academic future. This program allowed me to see firsthand what graduate mathematical research is actually like. I was able to determine if graduate mathematical research was the right fit for me, or if instead I should look into doing research in another subject area. It gave me experience in conducting research in collaboration with others and allowing me to gain important skills that are needed in graduate programs. In addition, I was able to add this experience to my undergraduate resume, increasing my competitiveness against other applications. With graduate programs being extremely competitive, it is very important to have research already established in you resume before applying, and in the field of mathematics or statistics REUs are one of the best opportunities to be able to do that. This REU benefited me by helping to open the door to a world full of opportunities.

5. Would you recommend this experience to other Troy students?

I would without a doubt recommend this experience and all other REU experiences to other Troy University students. The experience was great, the resume boosting was great, the pay was great, the networking opportunities are great, and for once you actually get paid to go to school instead of paying for it! To be honest I can't really think of a downside. So whether you're a freshman, senior, or anything in between I would strongly encourage you to take a chance and apply, it may end up benefiting your life in more ways than you ever thought!

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