Research Opportunities

Valpo Undergraduate Math Research Program (Academic Year)

All incoming mathematics majors are invited to apply to join the academic year student research program — an opportunity to foster mathematical curiosity and develop independence and leadership skills.

The students participating in the research program are assigned to teams on the basis of their interests and talents. Usually, the team consists of students at a variety of levels. While newer students are expected to contribute to the research effort, their primary role is to learn about the research process. In particular, they are not being called on to guide the research effort, but are “interning” in the process. They will then be asked and expected to take leadership roles if they continue to work on research projects after their first experience.

The research teams stay together for a minimum of one semester, although it is possible for some teams to continue working on a project for longer periods. In the latter case, new students are introduced to the project as other students leave the team. Students are encouraged to commit themselves for two semesters of work on a given project. An active student could earn a total of eight credits for their research efforts over four years.

For a student perspective on what academic year undergraduate research is like, see: Thinking Outside the Box

Previous Undergraduate Research Projects

  • “Combinatorics and GPU Programming” by Juan Arellano (advisor: Jon Beagley)
  • “Wolf Domestication: An Agent-based Simulation” by Ryan Kulwicki (advisor: Alex Capaldi)
  • “The Problem of Scoring Gerrymandering” by Junta Callahan, Jonathan Metcalfe, and Austin Schnoor (advisor: Mindy Capaldi)
  • “Generalized Motzkin Paths” by Michael Revor and Jacob Roth (advisor: Paul Drube)
  • “Determining the Optimal Design of Collegiate Ballroom Competitions” by Jonathan Metcalfe (advisor: Tiffany Kolba)
  • “Who will win the Stanley Cup?” by Nicholas Hollis (advisors: Tiffany Kolba and Coleen Wilder)
  • “Mathematical Modeling of the Evolution of the Domestic Dog” by Ashley Hire, Samuel Iselin, and Michael Revor (advisor: Alex Capaldi)
  • “Agent-Based Modeling of Pollen Competition” by Katie Bassett (advisor: Alex Capaldi)
  • “Distributions of Statistics over Pattern-Avoiding Permutations” by Michael Bukata, Ryan Kulwicki, Nicholas Lewandowski, Jacob Roth, and Teresa Wheeland (advisor: Lara Pudwell)
  • “Mathematical Modeling of Vaccination Noncompliance” by Jordan Bauer (advisor: Alex Capaldi)
  • “A Simulation of Anthropogenic Mammoth Extinction” by Matthew Klapman (advisor: Alex Capaldi)
  • “Jeu de taquin of set-valued Young tableaux” by Benjamin Levandowski and Nichole Smith (advisor: Paul Drube)
  • “Statistics of FA cup Final” by Jonathan Heagy (advisor: Pat Sullivan)
  • “L(4,3,2,1) – Labelings of Graphs” by Davina Boykin, Samuel Iselin, and Hector Reyes Figueroa (advisor: Zsuzsanna Szaniszlo)
  • “Original Geometric Theorems About Triangles” by Katie Lezark  (advisor: Mindy Capaldi)
  • “An Agent-Based Modeling Approach to Determine Overwintering Habits of American Robins and Eastern Bluebirds” by Samuel Iselin and Shannon Segin (advisor: Alex Capaldi)
  • “Combinatorics of Twist Boxes of Knots” by Nichole Smith (advisor: Paul Drube)
  • “Descent Statistics on Shuffles” by Felipe Alzate, Bill Mackelfresh, and Lily Wisniewski (advisor: Lara Pudwell)
  • “Modeling Promotion and Relegation in English Soccer” by Matthew Eifert and Brian Thompson (advisor: Pat Sullivan)
  • “Investigating the Study Habits of Math Students” by Brooke LeFevre (advisor: Mindy Capaldi)
  • “Misconceptions in Elementary Mathematics” by Katie Merkling and Rachel Rockey (advisor: Melissa Desjarlais)
  • “Non-crossing Matchings in Annulus” by Puttipong Pongtanapaisan (advisor: Paul Drube)
  • “Generalized Non-crossing Matchings” by Abigail Larson and Samuel Brandt (advisor: Paul Drube)
  • “Characterizing the Properties of k-Dense Graphs” by Samuel Prahlow (advisor: Karl Schmitt)
  • “Parameter Optimization for a Model of the Thermonuclear Reaction in Magnesium” by Will Arloff (advisor: Karl Schmitt)

Summer Research Opportunities for Valpo Students

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics encourages its students to take advantage of opportunities to conduct research during the summer months at other institutions. Faculty advisors can be invaluable in helping students locate research projects that match their interests, as well as writing recommendations and offering advice on application strategies.

NSF Summer Research Programs »

Summer Research Experience at Valpo

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics hosts its own NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program. The Valparaiso Experience in Research by Undergraduate Mathematicians (VERUM) provides an opportunity for rising college sophomores and juniors to engage in a first research experience in mathematics.

More about VERUM »

Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE)

Students in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics present their research findings in a variety of venues, including student and professional conferences at the regional and national levels. They are also regular participants in Valpo’s Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE), held annually in the spring.

 More about SOURCE»