Undergraduate Research in Mathematics as a Strategy to Increase Academic Achievement and Promote Students to Higher Education in Mathematics
The Department of Mathematics of the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao (UPRH) is one of the leading institutions in Puerto Rico in promoting undergraduate research in mathematics. In 1996, our department initiated an effort to increase the research activity in mathematics. The main goal was to use undergraduate research as a strategy to increase academic achievement and student retention at the Computational Mathematics Program (CMP). As a result, for the last seven years we have had the largest number of undergraduate students participating in research activities, presenting their findings at conferences and pursuing graduate degrees in the mathematical sciences among all the mathematics departments on the Island.
Our experience at the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao is that engaging students in challenging and interesting mathematics research is the best strategy to:
- stimulate students to reach their fullest potential;
- motivate students to pursue graduate degrees in the mathematical sciences;
- create an undergraduate research community with strong mentoring relations between the students, their peers and their research advisors;
- develop collaboration between peers and communication skills that are essential for successfully pursuing their careers or further studies after graduation.
This project builds on our experience using undergraduate research in mathematics
as a strategy to increase the academic achievement and promoting students
to higher education. Our aim is to develop a sustainable research experience
for undergraduates throughout the year in which every student has the opportunity
for participating in an experience that has proven to be stimulating and
enriching. Activities will include continuous research during the two semesters
of the academic year and intensive summer experiences in which they feel
the excitement of being involved full time in solving research problems,
participating in scientific congresses in which they interact with "colleagues"
from other institutions and active local colloquia.
"The essence of mathematics lies on its liberty."
"I have deeply regretted that I did not proceed far enough at least
to understand something of the great leading principles of mathematics; for
men thus endowed seem to have an extra sense."