Math/Stat student summers

Each summer Mount Holyoke math/stat students are involved in a variety of activities. Over summer 2021, students participated in research, internships, and summer schools at academic institutions, and in industry. The department is proud of the diversity of interests and everyone’s accomplishments.

A survey was sent asking majors, minors, and members of the math/stat club to let us know about the programs they participated and to pass on any advice to students looking for things to do in future summers. Their responses are recorded below.

Shreya Ahirwar ’22 participated in a variety of programs: the Fields Undergraduate Summer Research Program, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Guest Student Program, the Summer Geometry Institute at MIT, and the Online Undergraduate Resource Fair for the Advancement and Alliance of Marginalized Mathematicians.

For the first half of this summer, I was a guest student researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. There, I worked with Dr. Michael Neubert on a project involving differential equations. We studied fisheries models that exhibit complex, chaotic behavior including riddled basins. We worked on determining whether certain optimal harvesting strategies could be used to reduce the complexity of such models. For the last half of the summer, I participated in the Fields Undergraduate Summer Research Program (FUSRP). At FUSRP, I worked on the localization game played on graphs, alongside three other students under the supervision of Dr. Anthony Bonato. For about a week or so in July, I participated in “tutorial week” at the Summer Geometry Institute at MIT, which is the first week of SGI’s research program. During this time, I attended hands-on tutorials introducing the theory and practice of geometry processing, led by researchers in the field. Sometime in the middle of this, I also joined the organizing team of the Online Undergraduate Resource Fair for the Advancement and Alliance of Marginalized Mathematicians(OURFA²M²), which I’m very excited about. OURFA²M² is a math conference directed towards students who are underrepresented or who may not have access to all the resources they need to succeed in math.

Advice: Don’t be afraid to call on the professors, graduate students (or even alums) you’ve formed connections with - people are often a lot more willing to help you figure things out than you might think. If you’re applying to REUs, try to get feedback on your application/statement of purpose from someone else. If you’re just getting started and applying to your first research program, it helps to have take a research course at MHC, although it’s definitely not necessary. If you’re an international student who has used Lynk funding already, look around for programs that have the means to fund international students; if you haven’t used Lynk funding yet, some programs who normally don’t fund international students will accept your application if you email them and tell them that you’ll be sponsored, so make sure to ask. Also don’t count yourself out before you apply!

Angela Kung ’22 interned at a securities litigation law firm called Pomerantz LLP.

This summer I interned at a securities litigation law firm called Pomerantz LLP. I was in charge of analyzing how much a retail investor (like you and me) lost in the stock exchange specific to the company/case we are pursing. I used Excel to input their stock trade statements and calculated their losses using FIFO and LIFO calculations. I also created legal documents that the attorneys use for the people who are appointed lead plaintiff. I also worked on calculating damages on much larger datasets given to us by our institutional investors. Another responsibility that I had was insider research where I calculated how much an insider (C suite) gained by selling their stock and exercised how many options within the class period and the pre-class period. I even got a chance to create some graphs that the attorneys used in the court hearing! I also got a chance to use Bloomberg Terminal to download company data like prospectuses and press releases. The internship allowed me to briefly explore the finance industry and has encouraged me to explore rotational programs and analyst positions in the finance sector.

Grace Rhodes ’22 participated in an REU at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Over the summer, I was a part of the REU site at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Complex Data Analysis using Statistical and Machine Learning Tools. I worked with Dr. Jianping Sun on a Statistical Genetics project using an application of a Markov Chain Composite Likelihood. This project involved theoretical derivations and numerical analysis, so I found this REU very helpful in practicing applying the theory and R programming I had learned in class. Working on this project that involved an application in genetics was really helpful in that it confirmed for me that I want to pursue graduate school in Biostatistics and continue doing research. This REU also included invited talks on topics like careers in academia vs industry and applying to graduate school, which were great resources for planning for post-graduation.

Advice: I would definitely recommend this REU to anyone interested in Statistics research, it was a great experience. I think this REU is great if you’re looking to attend/ present at conferences because it includes a travel stipend in addition to the REU stipend. In terms of the application, I heard back pretty quickly because I submitted the application early so I would recommend submitting as soon as soon as possible!

Emily Rosaci ’23 participated in the math/stat department REU at Mount Holyoke.

Over the summer I had a REU with Professor Chumley. I worked with a team to investigate random billiards, or more specifically, how a particle will behave within channels with different microstructures. We spent much of our time coding simulations in R to see how our parameters affected mean escape time and the output angles of our particle. After generating some interesting plots, we began working on proofs to map out the state space of output angles in the case of triangular microstructures.

Advice: Even though math research can sound quite daunting, definitely apply and try it out. The math knowledge you currently have is applicable in even more ways than you would think!

Lea Sleiman ’22 interned at Venture for America.

Lea Sleiman

Position: Data Specialist Intern

Role: Conduct qualitative and quantitative Data collection during Training Camp and Redux (TCR) by writing and sending daily surveys. Perform data mining and statistical analysis to measure fellow engagement and satisfaction on a day to day. Perform demographic analysis, Objective and Key Result analysis, and NPS analysis at the end of TCR Programs to measure overall success. Gather competency data and perform learning objective analysis to help assess TCR curriculum based on a newly developed program competency model. Created clean Excel workbooks using power query, and clear data visualizations to write a final TCR report.

Key Accomplishments:

  • Managed a data base of 2800+ records
  • Wrote, and analyzed 35 surveys in 5 weeks
  • Accurately gathered competency data for over 35 learning Objectives.
  • Assisted in hitting 8 of 10 TCR OKRs by flagging fellows when necessary throughout Training Camp

Yuxuan (Susan) Wang ’23 participated in the math/stat department REU at Mount Holyoke.

I have worked with Professor Tim Chumley and two other classmates on a summer research project. The topic is about Random Billiard, Probabilities and what interplay they have. We were interested a particle/billiard colliding in a channel (two walls parallel to each other) and how different collision laws or different microstructures on the channel walls would affect the activities of the billiards’ collisions. We specifically focused on the specular-diffuse collision law with a parameter \(alpha\). Parameter \(alpha\) controls the probability for a collision to be diffuse. We examined how the mean time for the particle to escape the channel would be related to the parameter \(alpha\). We also specifically explored the channel with a triangular microstructure, and has come up with several conjectures about the incoming and outgoing angles of the particle to the small triangular cells.