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A few quotes from some past ISU REU participants

I feel so blessed to have been able to participate in the first ISU REU! It was the first opportunity for me to push myself beyond the undergrad math courses I took and helped me build my confidence in mathematics and as a researcher. Every day was challenging and the experience helped shape me as a mathematician and as a teacher. Having Saad as a mentor made a big impact on my attitude towards mathematics research and education and is something I hope to do for my students. It was an experience that I’ll never forget and I truly see it as a life-changing opportunity.

Andrea Lohse (Ball State University, 2007 REU)

I had a wonderful opportunity to attend the first REU and again later as a teacher. It was awesome. The experience with the REU enhanced my confidence as a mathematician and as a young teacher. I used many of the teaching modules and problems developed in the REU in my classroom, creating scenarios for students to discover new content for themselves. It surprised many of my students to learn that there is more to math than linear equations and that there are still new ideas out there. That is MY biggest “take away” from the REU. There are more ideas and theorems out there, patterns to see and study and discover.

Desiree Masters (Illinois State University, 2007 REU)

The REU was the best experience I’ve ever had in college. It made me see mathematics from a different perspective. I will use it to show to my students that math is a lot more than just solving equations. I plan on using graph theory problems as problem of the week kind of thing in my classroom.

Edgar Morales (University of Arkansas, 2014 REU)

The summer that I participated in the ISU REU was by far my favorite summer as a college student. I loved working on new math everyday alongside other math enthusiasts. Our group got along great and Saad and Ryan were awesome mentors while we were learning and working. And a couple of years later, Jessica Rose and I were notified that our work was being published in a journal! How cool is that?! Thanks for growing me and allowing me to explore how nerdy I really am.

Katie Ruddell (Eastern Illinois University, 2011 REU)

The REU really changed how I approach teaching and mathematics. The way we actually did mathematics was very different from my experience in undergrad classes. I learned the importance of asking good questions and how to ask my own questions. I also learned how to see in patterns, and to view the structure of mathematics as more important than particular techniques or methods. This has carried over to my teaching. I now feel comfortable asking questions and allowing students to explore, as well as letting students ask their own questions and following along just to see where it leads. I’ve been able to expose students to mathematics that is not commonly found in high school textbooks, introduce them to real, unsolved problems, and feel like I’ve been able to give them some idea of what mathematicians do all day. Math in high school textbooks is often presented as a static, dead subject but students are genuinely excited when they learn mathematics is growing, dynamic, and that they can actually have a part in expanding the boundaries of mathematics. I am not sure I would recognize this myself without the REU.

Erik Pelttari (Northern Illinois University, 2012 REU)
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