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Undergraduate Research in Mathematics

We encourage students to pursue undergraduate research projects with faculty mentors. Projects can be based around any mathematical idea or problem that interests you, and faculty often have a few good ideas of their own for research projects. If you are interested in research, contact a faculty member and we'll get things started.

In the Mathematics Department, we view undergraduate research as a collaborative effort on a problem whose solution is unknown, often even to the faculty mentor. Ideally, the research process involves literature review, original discoveries by the student, and ultimately, the public communication of results such as a journal publication or a presentation at a professional meeting.

Committing to a research project is a valuable experience as it allows you to take the tools developed in class and apply them to real problems. Research demands equal parts perseverance and creativity, but the reward of finding something new on your own is great. Taking part in a research project is a privilege - many schools do not encourage undergraduate research the way that Shippensburg does.

The Institute for Public Service and Sponsored Programs provides research resources for Ship students as well as forms and guidance.

Undergraduate Research Grants - At the beginning of the fall semester, a call goes out for students to apply for research funding. Each student (or student group) that applies must have a faculty sponsor, and grant funding can cover expenses like travel to conferences and poster printing. Applications are due at the beginning of October.

SFRE Grants - Faculty in the College of Arts and science can apply for these grants at the end of each semester. Funds from these grants can be used to support student research, so make sure your faculty mentor is aware of these grants.

SURE Grants (Summer Undergraduate Research Experience) - Near the start of the spring semester, a call goes out for faculty/student research pairs to apply for SURE grants. These grants will pay students $750 over the summer to conduct research with a faculty member. Free, on-campus housing is available to students in the SURE program. The deadline is in mid-March.

The Math Department Research Fund - The math department maintains a small amount of money to help with expenses like regional conference registration and poster printing, if not already covered by an undergraduate research grant. Talk to your research mentor or the math department chair to request these funds.

The Dean's Office - If you have a large expense (like airfare to a national conference) that is not covered by an undergraduate research grant, the Office of the Dean might be able to help. Talk to your research mentor about applying for funding from the Dean.

Minds@Work Conference - Here at Ship, this takes place around the end of April each year. Registration opens near the beginning of the spring semester.

EPaDel - This is the local regional meeting of the MAA. There is a fall meeting and a spring meeting.

PCTM - The PA Council of Teachers of Mathematics has a yearly conference in the fall semester.

NCTM - The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has a yearly conference in April.

MathFest - The annual national meeting of the MAA takes place at the beginning of August each year.

The Joint Mathematics Meetings - The largest annual mathematics conference in the world. Each year we have several faculty attend this meeting. It occurs in January before classes resume.

The SIAM Annual Meeting - The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics has a yearly national meeting in July. There is also an annual student conference for the mid-Atlantic region.

NIMBioS - An annual undergraduate research conference at the interface of biology and mathematics that runs each fall.

Involve - A Journal of Mathematics: Involve publishes original, scholarly papers written by students at any level.

Pi Mu Epsilon Journal: Papers available here are written by or for undergraduates.

SIAM: This is an online journal that publishes undergraduate research in all areas of applied and computational mathematics.

Examples of Research Projects in the Mathematics Department

  • L. Nicklas, "Identification and Classification of Breast Cancer Through Machine Learning and Computer Vision Models." With funding from an SU Undergraduate Research grant.
  • (With J. Hamblin) A. Garibay, G. Sigado, and M. Carlin, "Numerical Semigroups and the Game Chomp."
  • (With D. Ensley) T. Biondino, H. Jones, and L. Lawyer, "Predicting Student Success at Shippensburg University." With funding from Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Joseph, A. Koederitz, and L. Lawyer, "Data Analysis for Shippensburg University’s New Student Orientation Program." With funding from an SU Student/Faculty Research Engagement (SFRE) grant.
  • (With J. Hamblin) D. Eschbach, "Minimal Communication Networks: Connecting Graph Theory and Algebra." With funding from an SU Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences (SURE) grant.
  • Ryan Long, “Apery Diagrams of Numerical Semigroups”
  • Kellie Bresz, "Quotients of Numerical Semigroups with Maximal Embedding Dimension"
  • Justin Baker, "Graph pebbling numbers of the ycles attached an edge"
  • Kelly Toppin, "Minimum Pk-total Weights"
  • Ibrahim Abdurrahman, "Possible counterexamples on Collatz Conjecture"
  • Conner Oldt, "Optimization of cooking pizzas"
  • (With L. Bryant) T. Biondino, H. Jones, and L. Lawyer, "Predicting Student Success at Shippensburg University." With funding from Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences grant.
  • Nick Bilchak Stroughair, "A Genetic Algorithm Approach to the 2048 Puzzle"
  • Ryan Long, “Sliding Tile Puzzles”
  • Josh Ide, “An Extension of the Google PageRank Algorithm to College Football Rankings”
  • Lillian Simmons, "Exploring the Effect of Anti-VEGF Therapy with a Mathematical Model of Angiogenesis ", SURE Funding
  • Fiona Valore, "Ugly Fruit: Using Mathematical Modeling to Reduce Food Waste", SURE Funding
  • Sara Gherardi, "Error Patterns in Solving Unit Circle Problems Video Analysis."
  • Ethan Clever, "Active Learning in the Middle School." With funding from an SU Undergraduate Research grant.
  • Brendan Weiser, "Math Monologues: Middle school math videos for parents." With funding from an SU Undergraduate Research grant.
  • Andrew Geesaman, "Bridging the Gap: High Impact Techniques for Students with Asperger's." Andy presented his research at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conferences in Denver & in New Orleans.
  • Brenna DeShong, "Becoming Teacher-Leaders: Supporting and Empowering Students with Learning Disabilities."  Brenna presented her research at the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics Conference in New Orleans.
  • Linzy Hull, "Around the world: How eight countries have progressed in serving students with disabilities." Linzy presented her research at the West Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Conference.
  • Aaron Kolaric, “Text Analysis of Alternative Protein Discourse”, SURE Funding
  • Ally  Mankmyer, “Estimating Crowd Attendance At Open-Air Events Using Spatio-Temporal Statistical Methods”, SFRE Funding

  • JaJuan Brown, “Exploring Exact Conditional Inference in Discrete Exponential Families”

  • Chris Shell, “Pollen Identification Using Convolutional Neural Networks”

  • Lynne Dettra and Jeremy Eastman, "Totally Mental: Mental Math Techniques in Elementary Students" Students presented work at the PA Council of Teachers of Mathematics & WV Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual conferences
  • Blake Burkett, “A Mathematical Approach to the Cavendish Banana”
  • Rebekkah Stanko, "The Generalized Game of 21"
  • Josh Ide, “Power Fibonacci Sequences.” Joint paper produced, and published in the Fibonacci Quarterly.
  • Josh Updike and Patrick Flanagan, "Symmetries of Fibonacci Points, Modulo M".  This resulted in a paper that appears in the Fibonacci Quarterly.
  • Alex Dishong, "Calculating the Moduli that Produce a Given Period of the Fibonacci Sequence"
Contact the Mathematics Department MCT 250, Shippensburg University 1871 Old Main Drive Shippensburg, PA 17257 Phone: 717-477-1431