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Math and Actuarial Science Background
Mathematics & Actuarial Science

Math & Actuarial Science Research Opportunities

The Mathematics and Actuarial Science Department at Butler University offers various research opportunities, including working with individual professors and attending various group research activities for undergraduates.  

Seitz Travel Award

Congratulations to the following students awarded the Seitz travel awards for 2015.  For more information about this wonderful research opportunity,   

2015 Locations Student Major(s)
Complutense University of Madrid, Spain       Christopher Felder      Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering
Guizhou University, Guiyang, China Amanda Hashimoto Mathematics and Physics

About Katrina Roch Seitz '79 and the Scholarship

Dr. Katrina Roch Seitz '79 and her husband, Dr. David Seitz, presented the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with a gift to establish the Katrina Roch Seitz Science Education Endowed Fund.

Dr. Seitz, a native of Dallas, received her Bachelor of Science degree in zoology (cum laude) from Butler and her M.D. from Indiana University School of Medicine. She served her residency at Indiana University Medical Center and practiced medicine for over 20 years. She recently retired from her practice as an obstetrician-gynecologist with Southside OB-GYN in Indianapolis.

The fund, designated to benefit the natural sciences at Butler University, provides scholarship assistance to science majors who are interested in extending their education outside the classroom through seminars, field expeditions and meetings. It also has enabled the college to host a scholar in residence at Butler to enhance the science curriculum through lectures, seminars and workshops.

The Seitz Study Abroad Experience allows students to extend their mathematics education outside the classroom through study abroad. 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 mathematicians in a foreign country and gain an appreciation for the educational, cultural and economic environment of the country. Butler University's Office of International Programs 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 do you need to do to apply?
  • Meet with the department head, Dr. Johnston, or your advisor to discuss study/research options.
  • Write a statement describing the nature of the academic experience and the importance of this experience to personal development and career plans - no more than 2 pages.
  • Provide a timeline of where you are going and what you intend to accomplish.
  • Develop a budget estimating the cost of the trip (transportation expenses, lodging, registration fee, etc.)
  • Print a copy of your transcript from my.butler.edu and append it to your statement.
  • If applicable, supply documentation showing that what you intend to do is feasible (e.g., you have a letter from a research lab welcoming you to their lab/field station).
  • For travel to non-English-speaking countries, verification of language proficiency is required. Language proficiency is defined as skill equivalent to that achieved after a minimum of two full years of collegiate study.
When do you apply?

Apply by February 15, 2016. Bring the complete application package to the LAS Dean's Office in Jordan Hall 237.

Butler Mathematics Research Camp

What is it?

The Research camp is a focused research experience for mathematics and actuarial science majors. Majors who have taken MA 215 (Linear Algebra) are eligible, and prior research experience is not required.  

The camp is ideal for students who want a dedicated, focused research experience in mathematics that could lead to further research study, either continued informal work with a faculty member, a topic for the student to use in MA 490 Senior Seminar, a future research question, or an honors thesis or a BSI (Butler Summer Institute) research project.  The research camp could also help students decide if graduate studies in the mathematical sciences should be part of their future plans.

How does it work?

The camp will take place from Monday, August 11 to Monday, August 18. (Students can arrive on campus to check into their residence halls between 8:30 and 10 AM on Monday the 11th.)  The "Butler Research Faculty" will direct the camp.  The group includes Drs. Johnston, Sharma, Wahl, Webster, and Wilson.  The department pays all room expenses and provides students with work areas in Jordan Hall.  At least one meal each day, along with refreshments during the workday, will be provided.  Students will be responsible for any other meals; they will have opportunities to decide to eat on or off campus as they please.

What's in it for me?

Each day of camp will be filled with mathematics:presented by the faculty; worked on individually with faculty members;worked on by students in their own individual research of reading materials and formulation of questions;and worked on in "research proof sessions." We expect to start each day at 9 AM, and there will be research activities until 5 PM. Every camper will be responsible for participating at each event.  Several nights will have planned social activities, such as eating dinner together or going to a move, and of course there will be appropriate "down time" to relax and regroup.  In short, the campers should expect to have an immersion experience in research mathematics!

How can I find out more?

Interested students should talk to a member of the Research Faculty or to Mrs. Duerksen to pick up a short application form with a required essay.  The department hopes that all interested students may be able to participate, but limited resources might require a selection process, based on levels of commitment, seniority, experience, and grades.

Butler Summer Institute (BSI)

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 8 weeks during the summer, selects applicants competitively from all disciplines, and offers a student stipend of $2000 (to compensate for not having a summer job) as well as housing in Resco. Students work on a project under the guidance of a faculty member. See the BSI web site 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 (no, 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.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates

What is it? 

The acronym 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, which 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 (no, 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 maybe win a $100 prize!), 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!

Additional information regarding research opportunities provided at Butler University is available on the CHASE (Center for High Achievement & Scholarly Engagement) website.