Student Research Opportunities
The Mathematical Sciences Department at Butler University offers various research opportunities, including working with individual professors and attending various group research activities for undergraduates.
The Seitz Award
The Seitz Award is designed to financially assist Natural Science students who desire to study science and conduct research abroad, outside the normal academic classroom setting. All students with sophomore or junior status majoring in Astronomy & Astrophysics, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics are eligible to apply. Sophomore and junior majors in Psychology, studying Physiological or Cognitive/Neuropsychology, or in Anthropology, studying Biological Anthropology, Primatology or Archaeology, are also eligible to apply.
Funded by the Katrina Roch Seitz Science Education Fund, the Seitz Study Abroad Experience allows students to extend their science education outside the classroom. Expectations are that a student will have a science educational experience (short courses, special seminars or learning opportunities, etc.) along with an immersion into the language, history, culture, art, and economics of the country. The study abroad experience should provide an opportunity for the student to study, travel, and interact with students and scientists in a foreign country and gain an appreciation for the educational, cultural and economic environment of the country. Butler University’s Center for Global Education is available to help with arrangements for student housing, language instruction and travel, if needed. Students will be selected by a committee including department heads in the natural sciences and the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The number of student awards will be contingent on funds available. At the completion of the study abroad experience, the student will submit a written report to the Office of the Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences and be available to make an oral presentation to the Seitz family and the Butler community.
What is Mathematics Research Camp (MRC)?
This is an annual one-week research opportunity available to Majors in the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Actuarial Science. Each participant will work on an original research problem with a Butler faculty member and prepare a poster presentation for the end-of-the-week poster session. Projects are available for students at any level of the major, so anyone interested should apply. If you are curious about what Mathematics research looks like, this is your chance to find out first hand. If you are an experienced researcher looking for a new direction to explore, this could be a great opportunity to sample a new area.
When is it?
We is typically held camp in August, before classes begin.
What is expected of participants?
If you are a student participant at MRC, you will need to work closely with your faculty mentor and commit to this project during the time you are at Mathematics Research Camp. Some students go on to present their results at conferences, and some students use their results to start an honors or departmental thesis. But some students use MRC as a self-contained research opportunity since their course load does not give them time during the regular semester to do research. Where this project goes beyond MRC is up to you and your mentor.
What is it?
The acronym stands for the Butler Summer Institute, a program funded by Butler to provide an opportunity for summer research for Butler students.
How does it work?
BSI runs for eight weeks during the summer, selects applicants competitively from all disciplines, and offers a student stipend (to compensate for not having a summer job) as well as housing. Students work on a project under the guidance of a faculty member. See the BSI website for more information.
What’s in it for me?
Besides the stipend (always nice), it’s a chance to see what professional mathematicians really do (yes, we really do more than teach calculus, etc.), to work one-on-one with a Butler faculty member, to build a resume for graduate school (gives you an edge in admissions) or employment, to present your work at a professional meeting, and to have fun with some other Butler students who are in the program. Typically there are numerous social events held in conjunction with the program.
What is it?
The acronym, REU, stands for Research Experiences for Undergraduates, a program funded by the National Science Foundation to encourage budding mathematicians and to provide opportunities for summer enrichment. There are about 30 different sites—i.e., colleges or universities—that run these programs.
How does it work?
A typical REU program runs for 6-8 weeks during the summer, selects applicants competitively, and offers a student stipend of $2000-$3500 (to compensate for not having a summer job) as well as housing on the campus. Students usually work together on a project under the guidance of a faculty member. Each site has its own set of topics, some suitable for students who have completed the calculus sequence and perhaps one or two more courses and others suitable for students who have completed several higher-level mathematics courses. The National Science Foundation website contains information for students searching for an REU opportunity.
What’s in it for me?
Besides the stipend (always nice), it’s a chance to see what professional mathematicians really do (yes, we really do more than teach calculus, etc.), to build a resume for graduate school (gives you an edge in admissions) or employment (employers LOVE group work), to present your work at a professional meeting, and to have fun with some other undergraduates who like mathematics. Typically there are numerous social events held in conjunction with the program.
How can I find out more?
Talk to Dr. Johnston and/or see the NSF Specialized Information page and start applying!
The Math Dept at BU is very supportive of attendance and presentation at conferences by our students. A list of upcoming conferences can be found here. If you are interested in attending a conference, you should fill out the application and collect the appropriate signatures. Please complete the form and give to Ms. Duerkson at least one week prior to any relevant conference deadlines. Once your travel is approved, we kindly ask that you apply for any support provided by the conference or locally.
All travel is subject to budgetary restrictions; therefore, early applications are strongly encouraged.
If you have any questions about conference travel, please see one of the Student Travel Coordinators, Dr. Kaschner or Dr. Russell.