M.E.N.T.O.R.
Multi-Science Enrichment for Networking, Training, and Opportunities in Research



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To contact other students involved with MENTOR, join the
MENTOR groupme
(2019)

For further information, or to subscribe to the mailing list, please contact Daniel Onofrei, William Ott or Andrew Török.




Program Description

MENTOR is a program designed to help undergraduate students build the skills necessary to conduct an undergraduate research project. It has three components:

Upon successful completion of the Fall–Spring components above, the students will receive a MENTOR certificate, and a certificate in research following the summer REU. In addition, they are invited and sponsored to participate in an undergraduate conference.

MENTOR meetings involve problem solving sessions as well as professional development workshops designed to help students develop skills useful for research. The undergraduate colloquium features speakers discussing different aspects of mathematics/scientific research and careers.

If you are an undergraduate math student interested in participating in a research project, MENTOR can help prepare you for such a project. If you are an undergraduate student already doing a research project, MENTOR can be done in parallel with your project to help you develop skills and supplement the research experience.

The orientation meeting is 1-3 pm Aug. 26, in PGH 646, see the Schedule for the slides.
See the How to Apply link for how to enroll in the MENTOR activities (the deadline is Monday, Aug. 29, 2016).

More details are below.

Benefits

  • certificate describing your participation, whether you complete a summer REU or not
  • between 3 and 5 students will be offered financial support for a summer REU
  • the summer REU participants will also take part in the SURF activities, including the weekly Brown Bag lectures
  • even if you do not participate in a summer REU, you can continue the program next year to continue improving your research skills
  • "mathematics is everywhere", only have to discover how it can be used
  • the goal of the program is to give a general perspective about doing research, which often means attacking a difficult (or not well defined) problem
  • possible recommendation for a mid-career admission to the Honors College

Research methods class

This year-long class, with no credits offered, aims at introducing the participants to the research attitude necessary when facing nonstandard scientific questions. During the year, the students will meet with a MENTOR faculty for two hours every week. Through well-chosen scientific exercises and problems, the students can learn essential research habits such as: the importance of clearly understanding the hypothesis and the question, finding equivalent reformulations of the hypothesis and question, considering relevant particular examples, changing perspective when stuck, considering additional relevant assumptions which might help in an initial effort to answer the question, suitable use of numerical support to guide one's intuition, research of the relevant literature.

The first semester is organized as a problem solving seminar where the students meet with one of the faculty and work on a set of problems. The meeting is focused on open discussions and interactivity so that the students get to experience and practice in the class all the above research attitude attributes. The second semester consists of lectures and discussions about various possible research topics as well as lectures on how to write/read mathematics papers and how to prepare a mathematical presentation. The lectures will be delivered by the MENTOR faculty as well as other UH faculty guests speakers. The interested students will be thus exposed to an array of possible research tools and possible projects.

Undergraduate colloquium

This series of lectures promotes various areas of STEM related scientific research relevant for the undergraduate community through a series of general talks presented in an informal manner. The students have also the opportunity to learn more about the subject presented and about the various research extensions during the one hour question and answers (Q&A) post lecture session with the speaker. The talks will be delivered by enthusiastic and experienced scientists, local faculty or visitors.

Past and upcoming colloquiums are posted on the colloquium web-page.

Summer REU

For the summer the students are encouraged to work on a STEM research project of their choice supervised by a faculty. The students can choose one of the MENTOR faculty as advisors or may decide to work with another UH colleague, in the mathematics department or not. The results of their summer research will be presented in front of their peers at a date to be decided in a UH MENTOR mini-conference during the Fall semester.

The students in the summer REU will receive financial support.



MENTOR Certificate

To reward students that have significant involvement in MENTOR, the Mathematics Department will award certificates to recognize the students' participation and training. To receive a MENTOR certificate, a student must do the following three things:

  1. Attend a majority of the weekly MENTOR Sessions over the course of 2 semesters.
  2. Attend a majority of the undergraduate colloquia over the course of 2 semesters.
  3. Complete a project and give a presentation on the project. The project could involve solving a difficult problem (e.g., a generalization of a problem we work on in the MENTOR sessions or a problem from the Math Monthly problem lists). Another possibility is to learn a mathematical topic and work through examples or applications. The MENTOR project is meant to be more substantial than the problems we work on in the weekly MENTOR sessions, but not as involved as an undergraduate research project.




        Last modified:  August 27 2016 - 23:47:45