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NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates

Program Overview

The Queens Experience in Discrete Mathematics (QED) is an academic-year Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). QED aims to give students, who are passionate and curious about mathematics, the opportunity to do research in a supportive and student-centered environment. Our REU is hosted at York College, of the City University of New York. York College is located in Queens, New York, one of the most diverse counties in the country. Support for this program has been provided by the NSF through REU Award Number DMS 2150251. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Rishi Nath and the co-Principal Investigator is Dr. Edoardo Carta.

Program Goals

Our REU is designed to help students transition from guided learning to independent learning. More broadly, this REU will help students develop some of the skills needed to succeed in graduate school, as well as in academia and industry. QED participants will begin by acquiring the basic tools to do research in mathematics. Then, they will work with their mentors and peers in hands-on research projects, in some of the following areas of discrete mathematics: partition theory, algebraic combinatorics, automata theory, and formal language theory. Additionally, students will participate in various co-curricular activities, where they will learn relevant computer software. Participants will have access to resources aimed at preparing them for graduate school application.

Program Details

This REU is an academic-year REU, and each cycle runs from August to May. Participants will be required to attend meetings twice a week during the duration of the program. Students should expect some meetings to take place in person and some to take place online. That is, we anticipate the program to adopt a hybrid model. Participants will receive a stipend of about $9,000 (pending approval) and will have access to mobile electronic devices for the duration of the program. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to receive up to 6 credits towards their degrees for their work in this REU. We anticipate our program to accept up to 10 students per academic year.

Broader Impact

The broader impacts of QED include the recruitment and retention of students from several underrepresented groups in the mathematical sciences, including women, students with disabilities, African American and Hispanic students. Our program also seeks to increase interest from students in the aforementioned groups, as well as community college students, in attending graduate school. This REU is also aimed at increasing the diversity of applicants in the mathematical sciences job market, by providing a more comprehensive educational experience to students that have demonstrated mathematical ability and interest, but may not have a chance otherwise.

Eligibility

We are seeking highly-motivated students, who have demonstrated academic excellence in mathematics, and have little to no experience doing research in mathematics. Additionally, applicants

  1. must be US citizens or permanent residents, and must have at least one year left before finishing their bachelor’s degree;
  2. must have successfully completed Calculus 1 and Calculus 2, and must have a GPA of at least 3.00;
  3. must be willing to devote approximately 20 hours per week in activities related to this REU;
  4. must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and must follow the CUNY pandemic regulations.

Students from underrepresented groups (including women, students with disabilities, African American and Hispanic students) and community college students are strongly encouraged to apply. If you do not meet all the eligibility criteria, but you think you are a strong candidate, please feel free to contact us.

Application

The application process will begin May 1st, 2022, and will continue on a rolling basis throughout the summer or until positions are filled. Preference will be given to application packages submitted before July 1st, 2022. A complete application package must include

  1. a personal statement that tells us about yourself and addresses the following: your most rewarding mathematical experience, your idea of mathematical research, your academic/career goals, and what you hope to get out of this program (up to 2 pages);
  2. an unofficial transcript that contains your name, your current institution’s name, and any courses you have taken, along with grades;
  3. the contact information of up to 2 faculty members that have either taught you a class or have mentored you in an academic setting, and are willing to write recommendation letters.

In order to apply, please contact Dr. Rishi Nath.

Note: Application criteria are subject to change.