Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Research Experience for Undergraduates Leads Into Semester-Long Project

Sometimes, one positive experience is all it takes to decide on a future career path. For three students, the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at the University of Wyoming (UWY) was that experience.
The CI-WATER program, which ran through July and August, enticed Noll Roberts, a senior at UW, to contemplate a change of major. “My major is Molecular Biology, but now I’m switching to Mathematics,” he says.
This year’s REU focused on computer modeling, coding and hydrology.  For a month, Noll, Jingyu Li and Troy Axthelm collaborated on various aspects of modeling.
“Jingyu and I have been working on a project that’s been modeling the shade on a certain land plot,” says Troy, a senior at UW.
For Jingyu Li, a Laramie High School senior, the REU has given her a lot to think about.  “I’m not entirely sure what I want to do yet, but probably computer science and math,” she says.
Along with developing their coding and mathematical skills, the REU taught the importance of strong communication skills.
“I liked learning about how to interact with people in other departments," says Noll. "I think this REU was really good for that.”
While the REU has come the end, their work has not. Over the course of the next semester, Noll, Troy and Jingyu will receive upper division credit to continue their projects.
“We’re going to keep working on it so that it can work with the high performance computer and be efficient,” says Troy.

By Robin E. Rasmussen

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