There are a lot of different kinds of mathematical experiences students can have over the summer. Many students engage in research either on- or off-campus, others attend programs where they essentially take classes, and a few find mathematical internships.
Off-campus Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU): Many colleges and universities have summer research programs for undergraduate students. Students get paid to spend 6-10 weeks working on a research project with a faculty member from the participating institution. Usually students spend a couple of weeks at the beginning of the program learning their topic area, then work in groups on the research. Some REU programs are designed for rising seniors who are very serious mathematics students, while others are designed for rising juniors and even younger students who do not yet have a lot of mathematics courses. The best way to find an REU that fits your situation is to spend time exploring the following links.
- Math REU List – Compiled by Steve Butler at Iowa State.
- NSF List – Programs currently receiving funding from the NSF.
- AMS List
- Math Biology List
If you have questions about REUs, talk to professor Debra Czarneski or your academic advisor.
Requesting a REU letter of recommendation:
- Read the departmental website about requesting letters of recommendation.
- Click on this link to the “view only” spreadsheet that organizes summer research application information.
3. Copy this file and name it “SummerResearch2017LastnameFirstname.”
4. Complete this document with all of the information for all of the programs to which you are applying. You may update the information at any time, but should remember to tell your letter writers that you’ve done so.
5. Use the “share” option to share your completed document with your letter writers, making sure they have the ability to edit the google sheet.
6. In the spring, there might be some follow-up, when you will be asked (but not required) to give some further information to the college about your summer research plans.
Research at St. Olaf: There is some funding for students to stay on the hill and work with St. Olaf faculty over the summer. Similar to the REUs described above, students get paid to spend 10 weeks working on a research problem in mathematics, statistics, or computer science. The formal process for obtaining one of these positions is under reconstruction, so ask a professor or the chair of MSCS if you want to know more about doing research on campus.
Other Summer Programs: There are other opportunities in the mathematical sciences during the summer. Some of these are advertised in the MSCS Mess (contact Patty Martinez if you want to receive a weekly copy).