- Important Original Research May or May Not be Publishable
- Funding Issues
- Significant Benefits to Students and Faculty
This summer research program provides an opportunity by which students, faculty, and members of a regional community action organization are able to work together on important environmental issues. Moreover, the students are able to work with local environmental organizations and to use their mathematical and computer knowledge as well as their critical thinking skills to consider the environmental consequences of relevant activities.
In the end, it is clear watching the students that their expectations of research have both been changed and expanded. The levels of frustration the students experienced at times have not been forgotten, but the great deal of success and acclaim they have achieved shows through each time they give a talk or simply field a question from an interested party. Drs. Pearce and Blackburn-Lynch are very pleased with the overall outcome of the research and the affiliations with environmental organizations.
For faculty who are interested in developing an undergraduate research program with local environmental ties, Drs. Pearce and Blackburn-Lynch recommend calling a local environmental organization and asking them if they have any questions that could be explored mathematically. Drs. Pearce and Blackburn-Lynch have found this simple method surprisingly effective. Often you get more ideas than can be used or you hear questions that can not be answered, however, given enough ideas, often a common interest can be found.