Outside of class, students may participate in special programs designed for students studying Mathematics. Students may travel on one of the several departmentally funded trips to conferences, participate in research, or take part in other activities offered year-round. Research and internships are also encouraged by the department and are often pursued by students during their summer break.
The Mathematics Department has a long-standing tradition of involving students in research. Past research has included developing software for a new robotic platform. These research efforts included a completely new overall robot design with an impact on performance in terms of mobility, manipulation, and communication capabilities, the creation of a software backbone system for sensory processing and communication among different miniature robots in order to create an effective robotic team. This work is expected to contribute to the field of miniature robot design resulting in heterogeneous robot teams that will be far more effective in tasks such as search/rescue missions, locating the source of a biological or chemical release, decontamination and decommissioning efforts, and monitoring highly sensitive areas of populations, such as elderly or disabled patients in residential care units. This work was funded by the National Science Foundation, Award #0420836 from 2004 to 2008.
Labor in the Department
Following Berea College’s commitment to student labor as a means of learning, the Mathematics Department employs students to work within its facilities. Student labor positions in the Department include working as a teaching assistant, tutoring in the Mathematics Lab, supervising other students, working as a research assistant, and other jobs that keep the department functioning.
Travel to Conferences
Several times each year, the Mathematics Department sponsors a trip to a professional conference. Because of the departmental commitment to the value of these experiences, the cost to the student is minimal. The Department has sponsored recent trips to conferences as close as Eastern Kentucky University and as far away as Chicago.
An internship is an opportunity to gain valuable work experience in an applied setting. Internships are supervised both within the work setting and by a faculty member who is knowledgeable in the discipline related to the internship. Internships typically take place during Short Term or Summer Term. For example, over the last several years several Berea Computer Science students have been involved in Technical Internships with the Letcher County Fiscal Court.
Each year the Mathematics Department invites several outside lectures on a variety of topics running the gamut in the mathematical sciences. Recent invited talks have been on graphical techniques of image recovery and optimizing algorithms in parallel processing.
Each year at homecoming time the Mathematics Department holds two special events: The Friday afternoon Homecoming Alumni Lecture in which a departmental alumni returns to give an invited talk and the Saturday afternoon Homecoming Alumni Panel Discussion which is a formal opportunity for alumni to return to discuss their work experiences with current students and to offer some observations and advice.