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Student Program

The Los Alamos Mathematical Modeling and Analysis (LAMMA) Student Program is designed to attract academically superior students in science and engineering, and to give them hands-on research experience in developing and analyzing advanced mathematical models as well as access to the extensive scientific resources at Los Alamos. The program coordinates the organizational support and creation of student-mentor research teams and stimulates interchange among scientists collaborating on research problems in the mathematical sciences.

The goals of the summer research program include:

Research topics for program participants are concentrated around current mathematical research themes at the Laboratory. In addition to carrying out their individual research projects, students are strongly encouraged to make use of their stay at Los Alamos to further their education in the entire spectrum - theoretical, experimental, and computational - of applied mathematics and its applications.

The students are supervised by a Laboratory mentor during their 8 to 12 week summer internship. We strive to provide the students a meaningful research experience and to develop a new cadre of technical manpower with the interest, skills, and experience to pursue careers in areas related to applied mathematics, computer science, and mathematical physics. The students gain first hand knowledge of the research environment that they would be experiencing if they return as postdoctoral students or staff members at a DOE Laboratory.

The program encompasses both beginning and advanced students and interactions between all levels of students are encouraged. Beginning students gain valuable scientific guidance and assistance provided by the more advanced students in the program, who themselves benefit from such mentoring relationships.

The students are encouraged to participate in the full range of Los Alamos summer seminars and conferences, and give special consideration to the activities sponsored by the team members. The students attend several research talks per week, give at least one seminar during their summer and write a summary of their summer research project. We organize regular activities, both scientific and social, to promote interaction among students. Such activities include tutorials on applied mathematics presented by Laboratory staff members and visitors, and weekly informal discussion sessions for the program participants.

We attempt to match the graduate students with research problems appropriate for inclusion in their doctoral dissertation. This is an effective approach in creating new research triads linking university professors, laboratory scientists, and students working together on an applied mathematics project. These students provide valuable stimulus to the research efforts of the Laboratory staff and aid in forming communication links between the laboratory and academia. We encourage the student's faculty advisor to visit while the student is at the Laboratory. These visits often create new research ties and help guide university professors in designing curriculums that are more in tune with the Nation's essential research needs.

Los Alamos has extensive experience in professional, graduate, and undergraduate education in applied mathematics and high performance computing. The educational component of the program allows students to increase their understanding of the broader concepts of applied mathematics and techniques emerging in fields related to their own. The students join the approximately 3,000 students participating in the Los Alamos special educational and employment programs designed to bring scientists, educators, and students to Los Alamos. These include DOE Studentships for Graduate Studies in Computational Science, the Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) Program, the Undergraduate Student (UGS) Program, the Science and Engineering Research Semester (SERS) Program, the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (GEM) Program, the Teachers' Summer Employment Program (TSEP), the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Program, the National Consortium in Physical Sciences Studentships for Minorities and Women, the Associated Western Universities (AWU) Student and Faculty Programs and the Teacher Research Associates (TRAC) Program. In addition, new educational efforts in industrial outreach and technology transfer are underway.

The Summer Student Program in Mathematical Modeling and Analysis is open on a competitive basis to all university students. The Student Internship section is based on academic qualifications, scientific interests of the applicant, benefit to the applicant, and availability of a Los Alamos Mentor to sponsor the research. The selection procedure makes all attempts to match specific openings with the applicant's interests and abilities in order to complement the student's education with research related to his/her field of study. Students from all disciplines relating to applied mathematics are eligible for the program, with preference given to those whose interests coincide with current mathematical research themes at the Lab.

An internal committee consisting Laboratory staff members representing the range of interests and activities in the mathematical sciences coordinates the selection process. Applications are reviewed and then, on the basis of the applicant's interests and recommendations, distributed for review by potential mentors throughout the Laboratory. Potential mentors contact the applicants to identify problems in applied mathematics of mutual interest, after which they prepare a research plan for the students. The Selection Committee makes the selection decisions based on the allocation of support for the student internships. When appropriate, the committee works with the mentor to identify the additional support needed to fully fund the student internship.

Although secondary to criteria of scientific quality and relevance to the student's long-term research objectives, a significant factor in the selection process is the identification of applicants and research projects that encourages collaboration and interaction among the program participants. While it is appropriate that the student interns carry out their research on an individual basis in a very focused context with a Laboratory mentor, it is also important to avoid isolation and to facilitate peer-group interaction. When appropriate, attempts are made to select students with complementary interests and skills so as to enhance possibilities for joint research efforts.

We pay special attention to recruiting qualified students who might not ordinarily be aware of possibilities in this field. We make special efforts to recruit under-represented minorities majoring in sciences and engineering, and have high levels of participation from women students. Personal contact during the recruitment and application process make a significant difference in increasing participation of these students, and the mentors are committed to making a concerted effort --- through phone calls, and when possible, in-person campus visits --- to encourage minority and women applicants.

For more information on applying for a student internship see T-5 job opportunities. The LANL Students' Association has a variety of valuable student resources, including housing information, calendar of student activities, and discussion forums.

T-5 also helps to coordinate the Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute (MTBI) during the summer. MTBI, established in 1996 by Carlos Castillo-Chavez, provides sequential student-driven research experiences for undergraduate students in applied mathematics, statistics and biology. Students receive instruction, mentoring and practical research experience in a collaborative environment where they work closely with graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty on projects of their own choosing. MTBI summer institutes have mentored over 225 undergraduate participants, mostly from underrepresented minority groups, many of whom participate multiple times. Over fifty percent of MTBI alumni, ,are currently graduate students or have graduated from graduate programs in quantitative fields, mainly mathematics and statistics.

Critical support for this student program comes from the Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) Mathematical, Information, and Computational Sciences (MICS) program in Applied Mathematical Research (AMR), and from MathWorks for providing MatLab software and licenses for use by the students in the research projects.