Dr. Albert H. & Greta A. Bryan Summer Research Program

Program Description

The Dr. Albert H. & Greta A. Bryan Summer Research Program in Mathematics is an opportunity to spend eight weeks of the summer engaging in mathematics at Simpson College.  Each summer six students are selected to work on undergraduate research projects with Simpson College faculty members.  Each student receives a $3000 stipend and paid on-campus housing during the program.  In addition, the students receive funding to present their results at a national mathematics conference. 

2014 Program Dates

Bryan Summer Research Program:  Monday, June 9, to Friday, August 1, 2014

AMS-MAA Joint Mathematics Meetings:  January 10-13, 2015, San Antonio, Texas

2014 Research Topics and Faculty Advisors 

There will be two research projects again this summer (pending funding).  Dr. Bill Schellhorn will lead a project on analyzing draft strategies in professional sports leagues and Dr. Aaron Santos will lead a project on collective behavior in complex systems.  Click here for detailed descriptions of these projects.  The two research groups will give at least four talks at Simpson College: at the conclusion of the program in Summer 2014, at the Summer Research Symposium in Fall 2014, at the Midwest Undergraduate Mathematics Symposium in Spring 2015, and at the Simpson College Undergraduate Symposium in Spring 2015.  They will also present at the AMS-MAA Joint Mathematics Meetings in January 2015.


To apply for the program, a student must satisfy the following requirements.

  1. Complete Calculus II by the start of the summer.
  2. Graduate from Simpson College in April 2016 or after April 2016.
  3. Declared a major or minor in Mathematics or Actuarial Science (although preference will be given to majors).
  4. Commit at least 40 hours each week to the program.  A participant may take a class or have a part-time job on the weekends if approved by his or her faculty advisor.  However, being a Simpson Colloquium Leader is not permitted because you will miss the whole first week of the summer research program.
  5. Participate in all required program activities, including making several presentations about your research.

Application Process

Applicants must submit paper copies of both a mathematical resume and a personal statement by 4:00pm on Friday, March 7, 2014, to Dr. Bill Schellhorn in Carver 331B.  If you do not hand your application materials to Dr. Schellhorn (say you slide them under his office door), email him to confirm that they were received.  A description of the information that should be included in each of these documents appears below.  The mathematics department will meet to review the applications and applicants will be notified as soon as selections are made.

Mathematical Resume

Your mathematical resume should contain the following information.

  1. Overall GPA and your GPA in the Mathematics or Actuarial Science majors (this information can be found on your degree audit).
  2. All declared majors and minors.
  3. List of the mathematics courses you have completed and are currently enrolled in.
  4. All participation in mathematics department activities.
  5. Participation in other relevant activities since arriving at Simpson College.
  6. The name and office phone number of one Simpson College faculty member who is not in the mathematics department to serve as a reference.


Personal Statement

Your personal statement should contain the following information and should be no longer than two pages.

  1. Why should you be selected to participate in the program?  How would you benefit from participation in the program?
  2. What special skills would you bring to the program?
  3. What are your goals for the summer?
  4. What are your career plans and/or graduate school plans?
  5. Describe your level of interest in each project.  Make sure to tell us if you want to be considered for one of the projects but not the other.

Past Research Projects

Summer 2013 (descriptions)

  • Critical locations in infrastructure - Dr. Deb Czarneski
  • Predicting All-Star Game players - Dr. Bill Schellhorn

Summer 2012

  • Mathematical biology of prairie restoration - Dr. Heidi Berger
  • Number theory - Dr. Murphy Waggoner

Summer 2011

  • Ramsey numbers - Dr. Deb Czarneski
  • Coloring knots and tangles - Dr. Bill Schellhorn

Summer 2010

  • Time scales and stable flies - Dr. Heidi Berger
  • The evolution of cooperation in the face of competition - Dr. Rick Spellerberg

Summer 2009

  • Time scales and the emerald ash borer - Dr. Heidi Berger
  • Knot theory and DNA - Dr. Bill Schellhorn

Summer 2008

  • Graph labeling - Dr. Deb Czarneski
  • Auction theory - Dr. Rick Spellerberg

Bryan Program

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