Department of Mathematics
About the Mentors
"I appreciated my mentor's clear goals for what we should aim to cover in our projects, guidance in getting started in our paper writing quite early on, and encouragement to present our work at the Joint Mathematics Meeting."
"I loved everything about the REU! My research project was challenging and my group collaborated well. I feel that I have learned so much more about subjects I had little to no knowledge about, while also strengthening some of the skills I developed in my previous courses. The REU participants got along very well and the advisors and mentors were absolutely wonderful, which made the entire experience even more enjoyable. The weekend trips were well-planned and very fun. I'm very grateful that the advisors and mentors went such a great distance to accommodate us and to show us more of California. The apartments were great, and the colloquia and workshops were valuable. Overall, the experience was extremely worthwhile and I'm glad I chose to spend the summer at Fresno!"
"No way could I just pick one thing...
1) The relationships built with my peers and advisors
2) The weekend trips, of course
3) Giving the talks!
4) Most importantly, the amazing mentorship from our advisors.
"Dr. Steve Chung was the perfect amount of helpful. He didn't spoon feed
us anything but was certainly there for us if we needed it. I appreciate
everything he did. Overall, this experience was amazing. The only way I
could have an experience that was anything like this one is if we all
have an REUnion (which I am heavily suggesting)."
"The relationships with the other students and professors was probably
the most important to me, I don't actually think I would change
anything. For real."
“Dr. Vega did a tremendous job. He was approachable, knowledgeable, interested, and helpful. His method involved our working independently from him but going to him for help and advice. This method made the project very exciting because we really were doing the research ourselves. I always felt comfortable going to his office for help, and he continues to show interest in our project.”
“The overall experience with my mentor was excellent. I ended up spending most of my time "on my own", but that was my personal choice. Oscar was extremely helpful and I feel like I learned a lot about finite geometry from my talks with him. He was very approachable and gave me some good ideas which turned out to become fruitful.”
“My mentor was very encouraging and supportive. He was always willing to answer questions and provide guidance when we were stuck on a problem. He requested frequent updates on how we were doing in our research so he always knew what we were working on and how far we had gotten in that specific area. As a result, every day we were consistently working so we could show him something new the next day. He challenged us and we benefited from his enthusiasm and dedication.”
“Most of our work was the kind that just took a long time to do and there weren't a lot of places to get stuck, so it was difficult for Dr. Wu to really contribute a lot, but when we did have questions he was very capable of answering them.”
“I cannot express how great Tom was as a mentor. He perfectly balanced helping us, neither being unhelpful, nor doing the work for us. He was very friendly and easy to talk to, and he helped keep morale high. Tom was the ideal mentor, and I know I'll use his advice in the future.”
“Tom is a great mentor and should continue bringing students onto his research as well as helping them with their own”
“The help and support that was received from my mentor was great.”
"The relationship with my mentor is good. During the program she was always available for questions or guidance in the research. I had a good relationship with my group members. There was a good atmosphere for working."
About the Activities
“The events allowed for us to get to know each other and form bonds with our fellow participants that hopefully will last forever.”
“They definitely were helpful in "breaking the ice" with other REU students. I also found them refreshing for when I was stuck on a research problem because they forced me to take a break and rest instead of obsessing over the problem.”
“It really served as a great way to get to know the other students and the fact that the faculty were so on top of planning and organizing the events made me feel that my overall experience, (not just the math), was being considered.”
“The social events were great in giving us an opportunity to get to know the people (students and faculty) we were working with, which made working together easier. Prior to the REU, I didn't know anyone in Fresno, so it was nice to have people to socialize with without the awkwardness of planning an activity with people you don't know. The events were a lot of fun too, which helped us relax and keep us from burning out.”
“I loved that we had the chance to see lots of different parts of California, since this was something i really hadn't had the opportunity to do before coming to this REU. It was also great to have time to spend together outside of the research setting to really get to know each other.”
“I absolutely loved it. This made my experience way better than what I hear from my friends' research experiences. Definitely should keep these.”
About the Program
"There were a lot of aspects that I enjoyed about the experience. The workshops were helpful, I enjoyed the extracurricular activities (weekend trips and soccer). One of the best things was doing the research, exploring ideas, and learning how to deal with problems in the research. I also enjoyed meeting other undergrads and professors from different colleges."
"I thought that the weekend activities were great, the program design worked well, and that I got a top-notch research experience this summer."
"The deciding factor for me to go with this program was the clear focus on community building and fun weekend activities in addition to the research. Unlike a lot of programs I looked into, this one felt more like an 8 week experience rather than just a job-type situation."
“The Fresno State Mathematics REU program greatly exceeded my expectations. I had participated the previous summer in a research group at my home institution; however, I was the only student working on the project with two professors, so the social environment was clearly much different. I honestly didn't really know exactly what to expect from the REU before entering, so I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to work on beautiful mathematics, enjoy a wonderful campus (albeit sweltering), and interact with other undergraduates (many of which are similarly considering graduate school).”
“I saw this REU as an opportunity to explore a specific field of study and to narrow my focus for graduate studies, and the experience provided exactly that. I now know that my true interests lie more with the theoretical side of statistics. I now plan to apply more heavily to theoretical statistics programs and pure math programs.”
“The Fresno State Mathematics REU program exceeded my expectations. I did not expect to get very far in my project because we only had eight weeks, and being a junior, I have only had a few real mathematics courses. However, my colleagues and I actually saw some great results. It was exhilarating to be able to prove things that had never been proven. I didn't realize that we would be giving presentations every week, but I am glad that we did because I feel that I have improved drastically in my ability to do so. I also didn't realize that there would be colloquia and workshops, and those were very helpful as well.”
“Academically, I was very impressed by the organization of the activities, both academic and recreational. I feel as if the REU was very well-run compared with my previous research program. The only thing that I can think of that didn't meet my expectations was the beginning week of review. I feel as if I could have done better or more advanced work if I had been required to do reading pre-REU on subjects like linear/abstract algebra and combinatorics, and then used the first week to study more advanced finite geometry, which is much harder to learn on your own.”
“This REU did meet my expectations because it introduced me to math research and allowed me to expand my knowledge in an area of mathematics I had not explored before. My group found some conclusive results that we hope to publish in a journal in the near future.”
“First of all, I learned so much about survival analysis, which I'm sure will help if I go on to graduate school for something in statistics. And aside from the actual math, learning how to use LaTeX and Beamer made the whole program worth it. The REU met my expectations and I wish I could do it again.”
“I thought REUs would be super intense and terrifying. But this REU was very laid back. It was still stressful at times, but I felt like I had all the support I needed. I also met some amazing people along the way and that was an extra bonus. Overall I am extremely happy with attending the program.”
“The REU was more rigorous than I thought it would be. I was hoping to see more of an introduction to research rather than a "jump right in" approach, which took some getting used to. At times, I felt as if we were treated as graduate students or people who had previously done research. I was hoping that this REU would be more of a stepping stone to graduate school and research.”
“The intensity of the first 2 weeks was greater than I expected. This was good, because we then had a good understanding of a topic I had no prior knowledge of. We didn't make as much progress on our problem as I thought we would, but I think the difficulty of the problem surprised everyone a bit.”
“Participating in the Fresno State mathematics REU exceeded my expectations! I felt like our mentors truly cared that we had a fun and successful REU and did everything in their power to make it so. Having no experience doing research prior to the REU, I really didn't have any expectations regarding our actual research, but was happy with how it turned out, maybe just a little frustrated at times, which I now realize is actually pretty typical.”
“it pushed me to use my brain in a way that I never imagined; changed the way I think about math for the better; and consider topics that I did not know were even being researched”
“I really enjoyed the REU. It helped me understand what research is and it the whole program was fun.”
“The research done was more efficient than I had expected. Having enough done that we could write a paper was an amazing accomplishment”
“It exceeded my expectations by a lot. I had know idea what math research is like, so I didn't come in with much expectation, but it was still such an amazing experience.”
“My summer in Fresno was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned so much about math and research, and I got to meet a bunch of really great people. The faculty were incredibly hospitable and really did everything to make sure we were comfortable. All the math was very intense, which was good, but the atmosphere was kept light enough that it was still fun. I'm very very glad I chose the Fresno REU.”
“Great job! Loved my time at the REU this summer!”
“Thank you for your support! I really enjoyed it.”
"The workshops were all very useful, especially the one on graduate school and the last one on publishing. I think I left every colloquium learning some new math concept and getting a taste for the interesting math research other people are doing. It was great that mathematicians from other institutions came to visit. I benefited a whole lot from presenting every Monday. I'm relatively comfortable presenting now, although I still get somewhat nervous, but that's because I care."
"I thought is was a beneficial experience, but the field wasn't the most interesting subject to me personally. Focusing on the same problem for 8 weeks got tiring at times. But I thought it was a good insight into what math research is, even if I've decided it's likely not for me. I think that I actually gained the most from doing presentations, over the content of the research."