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Summary

The Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute (MTBI) summer program trains undergraduates through cutting-edge research and intensive mentoring experiences in the applied mathematical sciences. This eight-week summer research program is open to college juniors and seniors who are interested in learning quantitative methods and carrying out research on intriguing applications of math to their day-to-day lives. It encourages students from minority institutions and/or students from underrepresented groups who come from economically disadvantaged families as well as from local community colleges to apply. The summer program begins with four weeks of concentrated coursework on topics specific to mathematical and computational statistics, and theoretical biology at the advanced undergraduate and graduate level. The daily coursework is paired with coordinated computer labs and collaborative study sessions with graduate student teaching assistants and faculty present. Students are trained in leading computer software such as MATLAB, Mathematica, Maple, Netlogo, and R. During the second half of the program the students are asked to take what they have learned and apply it to group research projects of their choice with help from mentors. These projects are written as technical reports and students give a research presentation on their work/results at ASU during the final week of the program. The students also create posters of their projects that they present first at ASU and then again at the national SACNAS Conference and the Joint Mathematics Meetings. In summary, the exciting MTBI environment generates innovative research projects, leads to the achievement of significant scientific results within a summer, and motivates undergraduate students to pursue higher studies.

The objectives of the MTBI Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates program are to encourage and facilitate the access to the successful completion of graduate studies by mostly underrepresented minority (URM) undergraduate students at the interface of mathematics and life and social sciences. The MTBI summer program at ASU exposes undergraduates to scientific research by introducing them to methods in applied mathematics, training them on well-known modeling software and letting them address relevant questions in theoretical biology. The program faculty is composed of first-rate minority, non-minority and international researchers, both male and female to teach, advise, and mentor MTBI students. All have active research programs. MTBI not only supports an environment in which high quality undergraduate research is recognized and expected but also provides opportunities for students to collaborate on their research with excellent researchers from around the country and world. The program expands the visibility of the research carried out at MTBI by minorities via presentations of student research at national conferences. Success is measured directly by the quality of the student reports, and by the acceptance to and completion of graduate school by our participants.

Personnel

Funding

National Science Foundation, Division of Mathematical Sciences

Timeline

March 2018 — February 2021