Texas State Professors Mentor High School Students' Research
San Marcos, TX - August 10, 2011
As part of the 60-student Mathworks Honors Summer Math Camp (HSMC), 25 students spent six weeks of their summers conducting original math and science research on the Texas State campus.
The HSMC is a one of a handful of programs around the nation that connects young students with university faculty to do original research. Mary Fuentes, a 11 th grade student from El Paso, noted, “Not every high school student has the opportunity to sit in front of a professor with a doctorate degree that strongly believes that her project will go far. The professor was not only my mentor, but one of the people I will look up to for the rest of my life.”
This is Mary’s second summer attending the HSMC, and in addition to doing research, she took college-level courses in Analysis and Combinatorics with peers from across the state and nation. “It’s astonishing how here at Math Camp I have the opportunity to talk to and meet great individuals. My time here allowed me to see the beauty of mathematics and how it is important to everyday life,” said Mary.
Professors mentoring projects collaborate with students before, during, and after the duration of the summer math program. Devoting their time to work with high school students, the mentors see themselves as “passing on the torch” to future mathematicians and scientists. “Working with HSMC students as a research mentor gave me the opportunity to guide talented young students on a research project that gave them experience in three different areas of mathematics - braid topology, group theory, and formal languages - that overlap with computer science. I enjoyed inspiring members of the next generation of mathematicians to seek creative solutions to problems,” said Dr. David Snyder, associate professor of mathematics at Texas State University.
Texas State faculty acting as research mentors included professors Snyder, Jian Shen, Alex White, Eugene Curtin, and Thomas Keller - all of the Math Department. Other mentors included professors Gary Beall (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Bahram Asiabanpour (Engineering), and Mark McKenney (Computer Science). Additionally, professors Edward Early from St. Edward’s University and Lauren Ancel-Meyers from the University of Texas also mentored projects. Research topics ranged from hurricane data modeling, graph theory, knot theory, to 3-D fabrication modeling.
The students’ research papers will be submitted to the Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology, with preliminary results to be announced October 21. Over the past 10 years, Mathworks has placed 43 students as semifinalists, 48 as regional finalists, and 11 as national finalists in this prestigious national research competition. In 2009, a team of three HSMC students won first place overall in the Competition, sharing a $100,000 college scholarship.
Mathworks is a center for mathematics education at Texas State University – San Marcos with core programs of Summer Math Camps, Teacher Training and Curriculum Development. The Mathworks Junior Summer Math Camp and Honors Summer Math Camp are nationally recognized as one of the premier programs in the country. For more information about the camps, and other Mathworks programs, see www.txstate.edu/mathworks.