Summer 2021. Due to the pandemic, the program will run remotely. If the situation allows for that, then we will support individual participants who wish to be here in person.
This summer, the program is supported by NSF awards DMS-1802059, DMS-1851420, DMS-2051026, and DMS-2115936.
In this program, undergraduates do research work in combinatorics, probability, and related topics. The program runs for eight weeks during the summer in New York City. During this period, each participant works towards solving a problem and publishing a paper. Each participant is closely mentored by a professor who is an active researcher and has mentoring experience. We are based in the math department of CUNY's Baruch College, located at the heart of Manhattan.
The program is currently organized by Adam Sheffer and Pablo Soberón. In addition to intensive research work, the program includes many events: meetings with senior mathematicians, social events, mathematical talks, and much more.
Topics. The research projects are currently in discrete geometry, additive combinatorics, topological combinatorics, discrete probability, and theoretical computer science. No previous familiarity with these topics is required. For some basic introduction:
For a glance at Discrete Geometry, see Chapter 1 of this book (it may be helpful to first skim the introduction).
An example of a discrete probability project of Matt.
An example project of Guy that combines algebra, combinatorics, and theoretical computer science.
For a glance at Additive Combinatorics, see this chapter.
(These are just examples. We offer additional projects to the participants.) See also the results produced in previous years.
Additional details. For 2021, the dates are June 14th - Aug 7th, but participants can ask for small changes. Each participant will be provided with a stipend of $4,500. If the situation allows for that, participants who wish to be with us in Manhattan would also receive accommodation and travel support.
Participants can work on their own individual project or may choose to work in groups. Each participant receives a fully equipped cubicle in the math department, close to the offices of the mentors.
Beyond doing research work, the participants will get trained in giving math talks, writing rigorous proofs, applying to graduate school, and more. After the program ends, we keep supporting the participants as they continue in their mathematical pursuits.
Applying to the REU. We are looking for undergraduates who are motivated to produce a research paper, are hardworking, and can work independently between meetings with the mentors. Women and students from underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply.
Since the stipends are funded by NSF, only US citizens or permanent residents can apply. If you are a senior, your graduation date must be after the period of the REU. If you do not satisfy these requirements but may have an alternative source of funding, you are welcome to contact us to discuss this. The funding must come from an institute, fellowship, or another official source. Using your own money is not permitted.
Applications are submitted through www.mathprograms.org. An application includes at least one reference letter, a CV (or resume), a cover letter, a transcript, and any additional information you wish to add. You may submit more than one reference letter. If you participated in a previous research project, a letter from your mentor in that program would be appreciated. The transcript does not need to be an official document. Under additional information, you can add past research projects, jokes, and/or any other relevant information. Please make sure to indicate that you are a US citizen or a permanent resident.
The applications deadline is Feb 15th. We follow the REU consortium's uniform deadline - applicants will not be required to accept or decline an offer before March 8th. (There are usually multiple rounds of offers - not getting an offer by March 9th does not mean anything.)
Cover letter and personal statement: Do whatever you want! You can include a personal statement in the cover letter, as a separate file, or not at all. You can write about why this program is for you, or not. You can write about your personal interests and experiences, or not. Don't write when there's nothing you wish to say. You can also do something completely different. We once received a pdf with pictures of mathematicians in sunglasses, and that's good. It certainly got our attention :)
You are very welcome to contact us at for any questions, clarifications, or issues.
Board of Advisors
We strongly believe in relying on experts. For that reason, the REU has a board of advisors, each with different expertise. Our current advisors are:
Catherine Good (CUNY). A psychology professor studying how social stereotypes affect women and minorities in STEM. Good guides us about how to fight such stereotypes and encourage
women and underrepresented minorities to pursue advanced mathematics.
Steven Miller (Williams). The longtime director of one of the larger and established REU program and a main figure in the undergraduate research world. Miller advises the program about organizational and mentoring issues.
Francis Su (Harvey Mudd). A vice president of the AMS, a former president of the MAA, and a lot more. But most importantly - author of the book "Mathematics for Human Flourishing." Su helps us to include, at the heart of our program, ideas about leading a healthy and fulfilling life in math .