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2020 REU at NC State Mathematics

Integrating Pure and Applied Mathematics

The Mathematics Department of North Carolina State University Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program concentrates on research projects that integrate concepts traditionally considered “pure” with serious application areas. Projects span applications in quantum computing, computer vision, physiology, cancer modeling, and finance; using tools from geometry, discrete math, numerical analysis, differential equations, probability, and topology.   In addition to the technical mathematical aspects of the program, students also receive background on useful auxiliary skills like mathematical program, writing reports in LateX, applying for graduate school, and preparing mathematical presentations.

For the 2020 NCSU REU program students will work at NCSU during the 10 week summer program and during the fall semester. Formal summer activities will be May 25 – August 1, with arrivals the weekend before. The work during the fall semester will be conducted online. Time commitment for this part of the program will be approximately 5 hours per week including a 1h weekly remote meeting.

We encourage students of all backgrounds to apply. This includes students who might have a nontraditional mathematical training, or who are just beginning their mathematical studies.

Students will need to submit a curriculum vitae/resume, a transcript (unofficial is fine), and two reference letters. In addition, students must submit a personal statement and a letter from a local faculty member that will help mentor them during the fall semester. Include in the personal statement the reason(s) that you wish to participate in the mathematics REU at NCSU and the name of the local faculty member (if the local mentor is also a reference then submit the letter under mentoring letter as well).

Due to NSF and NSA requirements, only US citizens or permanent residents may participate in the program. Preference will be given to rising Juniors and Seniors, participants must be full- time undergraduate students for the fall semester 2020, and be able to devote full time effort during the 10-week summer program.

Participants will be selected on the basis of demonstrated mathematical creativity, motivation and good work habits as well as meeting the above requirements, as determined from the application materials and recommendation letters.

Students will receive a stipend in the amount of $6,000 for the 10 weeks, housing, a partial meal allowance, and travel support up to $500 per student to cover transport to and from NCSU.

Application Deadline: Review of applications begins February 28 and will continue until all slots are filled. Please apply at

Contact Information:

Mette Olufsen (, Professor of Mathematics, North Carolina State University

Seth Sullivant (, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, North Carolina State University

Application Materials Required

  • Personal Statement (include name of local faculty mentor)
  • Transcript
  • CV or Resume
  • Two Reference Letters
  • Letter of Mentoring Confirmation (this can be included in the reference letter)

Tentative Calendar

Module 1 (Preparation – Online): Online meeting with NCSU faculty mentor 1-2 weeks before the start of the summer module. During this meeting, the group will discuss what to read to prepare for the summer project. Once the teams are finalized, a faculty mentor will reach out to teams (via email) to arrange this meeting.

Module 2 (Summer Research – Face-to-Face):

Monday (5/25): Arrival at NCSU

Week 1 (5/26-5/29):

  • Project presentation (5/26)
  • Safety orientation and welcome reception (5/27)
  • Research seminar: Student teams will present goals for the summer (5/29)

Week 2-9 (5/30-7/26):

  • Work on projects
  • Weekly research seminars with student and faculty presentations
  • Special topics seminars dedicated to: research ethics, applying to graduate school and graduate fellowships, how to give effective presentations, how to write a scientific paper, etc.
  • Registration for NCSU summer research symposium

Week 10 (7/26-7/31):

  • Complete poster for NCSU summer research symposium
  • Complete draft manuscript discriminating results
  • Plan fall semester meetings
  • NCSU summer research symposium

Saturday (8/1): Departure from NCSU

Module 3 (Continuation – Online): The continuation module starts around September 1st depending on semester start for students in each team. During the fall semester the students will have weekly online meetings with the NCSU and local faculty mentors. Local mentors are invited to participate but will mainly serve by facilitating the meetings and help students adhere to deadlines. Students may submit abstracts to JMM or another conference, complete and submit their research for publication. Student teams can apply for support for a fall semester face-to-face meeting. This meeting should be scheduled for mid/late October on Fri-Sun or Sat-Mon timeline including a weekday so the NCSU faculty can interact with local faculty and students.

Notification Policy

All applicants will be notified by email about the completeness of their application a couple of days after the deadline. Unless previously notified, a final notification that the search is closed will be emailed after all positions have been filled and confirmed (this could take a month).  If you have any questions about the status of your application, especially if you are trying to make a decision on accepting another summer position, please email the program directors who will be happy to send you a prompt response.