[edit] Undergraduate Research


This page has information for and about St. Olaf students doing research. There are separate links in the navigation bar to REU programs, workshops, information about traveling to conferences, etc.


Sections below include:
Research Experiences of Current and Recent Oles
Recent Presentations by Oles
Conferences Where Undergraduates Can Present Research
Information on Travel Reimbursement
Journals That Publish Undergraduate Research
Published Work of Oles



Research and other Learning Experiences of Current and Recent Oles

  • Summer 2010
    • Cathryn Holm, Brigham Young University, Realizable Graphs of Equivalence Classes of Zero Divisors
    • Mckenzie West, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Subbarao's Conjecture on the Parity of the Partition Function
    • Vladimir Sotirov, St. Olaf College, Fixed Points and Gardens of Eden of Generalized Sandpile Models
    • Lucas Antony, University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Summer Institute of Biostatistics
    • Matt Friedrichsen, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
    • Chris Conklin, St. Olaf College, Bruhat Graphs and Pattern Avoidance
    • Ben Simmons, St. Olaf College, A Cloud over Clouds: The Untold Story of Lord Kelvin and the Origin of Monte Carlo Methods
    • Steffen Docken, Louisiana State University, Symmetric Square Differential Equations of the Beauville Families of Elliptic Curves

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Recent Presentations by Oles

  • Cathryn Holm: Equivalence Classes of Zero Divisor Graphs at MathFest 2010. Cathryn describes her work done at the Brigham Young University REU over the summer: We study the graphs of equivalence classes of zero divisors of commutative Noetherian rings. In examining all possible graphs on four, five, and six vertices, we determine which graphs are realizable representations of rings and demonstrate examples of rings which have these graphs. Furthermore, we examine the finite fan graph and identify a method for constructing many fan graphs with n ≥ 4 vertices.
  • Benjamin Simmons: Modular Tableaux and Their Conjugates at MathFest 2010. Ben describes his work done under the supervision of Prof. Tina Garrett over the summer: We provide a brief introduction to partition theory and the closely related field of tableau theory. We focus specifically on modular tableaux, defined by Garrett and Killpatrick as follows: a tableau is modular if, for some k, a, b ∈ Z, any given cell in row i and column j (with columns increasing from left to right and rows increasing from top to bottom) has content ai + bj mod k. We offer and prove a theorem linking modular tableaux and their conjugates, and we demonstrate the usefulness of this result in counting modular tableaux.
  • Bjorn Wastvedt: Counting Modular Tableaux at MathFest 2010. Bjorn describes his work done under the supervision of Prof. Tina Garrett during the 2009-10 academic year: In this paper we provide a bijection between all modular tableaux of size kn and all partitions of n into k colors. By using the generating function for the number of k-colored partitions of n, we can count the number of modular tableaux of size kn. We also provide an alternate proof of Stanton and White’s bijection between k-rim hook tableaux of size kn and k-tuples of standard tableaux.

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Conferences Where Undergraduates Can Present Research

  • Math Fest: The Mathematical Association of America sponsors Math Fest every summer. Student paper submissions are welcomed.
  • RUMC: Regional Undergraduate Mathematics Conferences. Through the NSF, the MAA is able to offer funding to institutions so that they may hold regional conferences for undergraduates to present their work.
  • Joint Math Meetings: These national meetings are annually held by the AMS and MAA in early January. The event includes exhibits, courses, social events, and networking and employment opportunities.
  • Pi Mu Epsilon Regional Conferences: Pi Mu Epsilon holds a regional conference in the fall at St. Norbert College (link) in De Pere, WI, and in the spring at St. Johns University (link) in Collegeville, MN, near St. Cloud.

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Information on Travel Reimbursement

  • The College has some money available to students for travel to conferences where they present posters or give talks. Go to the webpage for Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (CURI) for more information on the reimbursement procedure.


Journals That Publish Undergraduate Research

  • The Pentagon: This is the journal of Kappa Mu Epsilon that publishes "outstanding" papers by undergraduate students.
  • SIAM This is a online journal that publishes undergraduate research in all areas of applied and computational mathematics.
  • At St. Olaf: Every year, Professor Jill Dietz edits an in-house volume of mathematics research articles submitted by majors.

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Published Work of Oles

  • K.L. Nichol, K. Tummers, A. Hoyer-Leitzel, J. Marsh, M. Moynihan, et al, Modeling Seasonal Influenza Outbreak in a Closed College Campus--Impact of Pre-Season Vaccination, In-Season Vaccination and Holidays-Breaks, PLoS ONE 5(3) (2010).
  • Joe Usset and Nathan Langholz, Counting Containment Partitions, Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Math Journal 9 (2) (2008).
  • Katie Evans and Trygve Wastvedt, A Combinatorial Proof of an Identity of Andrews, Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Math Journal 9 (2) (2008).
  • Daniel Endean, Kristin Henry, and Erin Manlove, Zero-divisor graphs of Zn and polynomial quotient rings over Zn, Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Math Journal 8 (2) (2007).
  • Stephanie Libera and Paul Tlucek, Perfect order subset groups, Pi Mu Epsilon Journal, 11 (2003), 495-498. This paper won the 3rd place Richard V. Andree Award.
  • Eric Wilbur, Topspin: Solvability of sliding number games, Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Math Journal, 2 (2) (2001).
  • Mark Schulte, Automorphisms of metacyclic p-groups with cyclic maximal subgroups, Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Research Journal, 2 (2), (2001).
  • Mark Afdahl, Gretchen Christianson, Jill Dietz, Alfred Furth, Kirsten Knudson, and Sarah Volkenant, The probability that two elements in an extra-special p-group commute, Pi Mu Epsilon Journal, 11 (2001), 169–173.
  • Nitish Dass, Jonathan McGrath, and Erin Urbanski, The determinant of a (m,n) pretzel, Pi Mu Epsilon Journal, 11 (2000), 135–137. This paper won a 2000 Richard V. Andree Award.


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