Taylor Cobb participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina during the summer of 2022.
How did you find out about your research experience, and what was the process for applying?
I found this program on the mathprograms.org website while applying to other programs. I cannot remember the specifics for this specific program, but two recommendation letters, a personal statement, unofficial transcripts, and other personal information were needed for almost all of the programs. Some programs had prompts for their applicants to answer. Pretty much everything was submitted online, so it was convenient for my letter writers and me.
Can you summarize your project and what your role was?
My project was in applied math, specifically in math biology. We studied how cells pack inside of tissues based on laws of biology and physics. We did a lot of modeling of cells to see how their shape and configuration changed if we change certain values, like their surface tension. We used Python, MATLAB, and then finally surface evolver to construct our models. My programming is weaker than my teammates’, but I was the only team member with a physics background. We briefly talked about surfaces and different curvatures which I learned about in differential geometry, so I was also able to contribute to the math in ways my teammates could not. We had a very well rounded team which we were all thankful for and we got along well.
How did you benefit from this experience?
Besides benefits to my bank account and my resume, I learned a lot from this experience. They had weekly seminars to talk about research ethics, diversity and inclusion in research, and graduate school. I was thankful to learn about things besides math at this REU. It ignited my passion further to pursue advanced math in graduate school as well. I feel prepared and confident for graduate school. Besides the professional development, I met 19 other undergraduate math students and we had a lot of fun exploring Raleigh.