Comments on Undergraduate Research

Here are some notes to get a conversation going:

I know of two existing conferences of note:

1) The Murdock conference on undergraduate research in science. This year, this one-day event was held at Whitman in Walla Walla in November (I am not sure at the moment where next year's conference will be held). Several hundred undergraduate science students (biology, physics and chemistry mainly) presented results of research projects. It should be noted that although mathematics is not explicity excluded from this conference, I and my student were the only mathematicians present. Conference organizers arranged for very inexpensive hotel stays (25-30/night). The Murdock Foundation heavily subsidized meals and conference expenses (I don't have exact or even estimated figures)..

2) Pacific University sponsors a one-day undergraduate research conference in biology in April. Usually, this event is attended by several hundred undergraduates from around the Northwest. The conference organizer, Rob Stockhouse, is very interested in expanding the focus of this event to other disciplines. I will contact Rob to obtain the current financial information.

Both of these events are centered around undergraduate research. It would be interesting to find out how many undergraduate mathematics majors in the Northwest are engaged in such activity. My feeling is that any student centered activity we arrange needs to be more general, encouraging mathematics majors at all levels and interests to be involved. It may be possible to include such an event with the undergraduate biology research conference at Pacific University, but I don't think it would fit with Murdock.

I am excited that we are considering establishing a student centered event and look forward to hearing from you (and everyone else reading this note) with more ideas!

Mike Boardman

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Last updated 16 May, 1996