Advising undergraduate research projects in mathematics.
Borrowed from


In March, 2012 I was privileged to give a talk at the Southeast Mathematical Association of America meeting. Dr. Janine Haugh and I co-chaired a special session on advanced undergraduate mathematical modeling. Dr. Stacey Ernstberger and Dr. Tessa Weinstein hosted a tandem session on lower-level mathematical modeling.

In my session, Dr. Haugh and I decided that conversations on conducting the undergraduate mathematical modeling research might be useful.  I volunteered, with hopes of enabling strong conversation, to present some of what I was seeing as a definable process.

Advising Undergraduate Research

My talk was entitled “Reflections on the Initiation of a Modeling-Focused Undergraduate Research Program”. The presentation was all about how I had learned/was learning/am learning the hard way about advising undergraduate research projects.

My talk is presented below:
[slideshare id=40134266&doc=semaa2012b-141010215338-conversion-gate02]

Looking back, there is humor in me giving that talk when there were other, well-seasoned veterans in the session.  Yet, it wasn’t a “how-to” but rather a “here’s what” and was therefore not so arrogant.


Years later, I continue to look at the presentation and to think through my process for conducting and advising undergraduate research projects. Can I do a better job? Absolutely. Have I made mistakes? Absolutely. Will I continue to improve? I think so.

What are my goals? To help students become stronger and more independent as researchers; to help students ascertain precision in their work; to grow, to help students grow, and to help enrich the world with their efforts. I guess, in many respects, these are the same as they have always been.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Advising Undergraduate Research Projects in Mathematics
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