Research Experiences for Undergraduates

June 9 - August 1, 2008


We will add names/info for participants as we get them. You can send Kim Whittlesey email at Last modified April 28, 2008

Gregory Puleo

Program: Geometric Group Theory
College:Rochester Institute of Technology
Snail-mail: 153B Perkins Rd. / Rochester, NY 14623

My name is Greg. I'm a third-year Applied Mathematics student at the Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York, though I'm originally from New York City.

Although I'd been curious about abstract algebra for a while, this year was the first year I actually got a chance to see it instead of just hearing ghost stories about it. It turns out it's pretty fun. By the summer, I'll have seen both straight group/ring theory as well as some parts of algebraic number theory. My hope is that I'll be able to see algebra from another angle by the end of the summer.

Jake Zhao

Program: Geometric Group Theory
College: UT Austin
Address: 303 W. 40th St. Apt. 106, Austin, TX 78751
Phone: (512) 458-5897

Interests: knot theory and cryptography

Abdulmajed Dakkak

Program: Geometric Visualization
College: University of Toledo
Address: 216 university blvd, toledo, oh, 43614
Phone: (419 )280-0047

My name is Abdulmajed Dakkak (Abdul for short) and I come from the University of Toledo in Toledo, OH.

I am interested in several topics in computer science (visualization/graphics, machine learning, and cellular automata) and mathematics (algebra, dynamic systems, and algorithms). I have been programming in python for the past 5 years, creating some small useful programs for my self. I have also been a Linux user for over 6 years.

Will Davis

Program: Geometric Visualization
College: Univerity of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Summer mailing address: 1111 S Third Street, Apt. 203, Champaign, IL 61820

My name is Will Davis and I'm pursuing a Computer Engineering degree with a minor in Mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Having been in Professor Francis' MATH 198 course this semester, I have had an exposure to the type of work that goes on in the REU Lab. Currently I am developing a software application for the Virtual Environments here on campus that articulates how the OpenGL "stack matrix" works, but this summer I intend to broaden my work to explore the possibility of using ray tracing methods of graphics rendering.

A more general and personal interest in the REU program is to gain exposure to the "research experience" (of course) and also to develop my mathematical intuition and how it can be applied to computing systems.

Yakov Berchenko-Kogan

Program: Geometric Group Theory
College: Caltech
Address: MSC 134, Pasadena, CA 91126
phone: 919-412-5197

Mathematically I'm interested in algebra. My other interests include hiking, piano, and theater.

Katie Poon

Program: Geometric Visualization
College: Wellesley
Email: or
Phone: 925-628-8904.
Address: 21 Wellesley College Rd, Unit 2137, Wellesley, MA 02481-0221

My name is Katie Poon and I'm a rising Junior at Wellesley College. I was born and raised in California.

I am interested in the REU in Geometric Visualization in Virtual Environments because I think it's a great experience to really learn about programming and mathematical applications. I am eager to apply my critical thinking skills and work in a group setting with the other participants. I also really like the visual aspect of the research. I have not really been exposed to this type of work before so it will be a great opportunity. I will learn very useful and interesting skills that will enhance my learning and give me a greater depth and understanding in math.

Michael Vitz

Program: Geometric Group Theory
College: Hunter College
snailmail: 21 Clifford Place, Apt. 3R, Brooklyn, N.Y., 11222.
phone: 212 203 5671

My name is Michael Vitz (prefer Mike). I was born and raised in Manhattan; I live in Greenpoint Brooklyn now. I am in my senior year at Hunter College in Manhattan, but this semester I take most of my classes at the CUNY graduate center, and I will take a fifth year to take graduate courses to prepare for, and get a jump on, graduate school. This semester the courses I am taking which are related to geometric group theory are hyperbolic geometry and also knot theory. I became interested in algebraic geometry last year when I sat in on a seminar on knot theory; the instructor -who is a geometer- has since become my advisor. This semester I am developing that interest, and this REU is sounding very cool! I think I will try to study geometry in graduate school.

I also have interests in Physics (I am a double major) and Philosophy (except for a course in the Philosophy of Math that has been a private study). I study flamenco guitar and I am taking private lessons at Hunter in classical guitar -if anyone else plays an instrument maybe we can play a bit on our free time!

Chase Boren

Program: Geometric Visualization
College: University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
phone: 817-235-4564.

My name is Chase Boren and I am from Fort Worth, Texas. I am a freshman in physics and math at the University of Illinois. My email is and my cell is 817-235-4564 My interests mainly lie in further development of my program that model collisions inside the Tevatron. Name: Ian Shipman

Chris Hall

Program: Geometric Group Theory
College: Tulane

Hi, everyone. I'm Chris Hall. I live in New Orleans and am currently a junior at Tulane University. My mathematical interests consist mainly of differential geometry, complex analysis, and algebraic geometry. I live by the motto "Everything is better in complex variables or with cheese." Outside of math, my interests include games of many sorts (especially chess), hockey (I don't actually play.), baseball, tennis, and such things as politics and political philosophy.

Lisa Hickok

Program: Geometric Visualization
College: UIUC

Susan Wei

Program: Geometric Group Theory
College: Berkeley

Sam Ostling

Program: Geometric Visualization
College: Rose-Hulman

Geoff Ehrman

Program: Geometric Visualization
College: University of Akron
Snailmail: 568 West Sturbride Dr., Medina, Ohio, 44256

My name is Geoff Ehrman. I am a rising senior (theoretical) mathematics major, with a computer science minor, at the University of Akron. I'm from Medina, Ohio.

My mathematical interests lean towards the algebraic, but I want to learn more geometry and topology; my interests in computer sciences are operating systems, networking, and databases. I've been programming in several languages at varying levels of competence for about 7 years; I've also been using Linux/*BSD for about that long. My outside interests include backpacking/camping, reading, cooking, and randomness. I also like the semi-colon.