After the 2019 competition was completed a few of the Faculty Mentors and Students from the national winners provided the following comments:
Faculty mentor comments
(Dr. Wufeng Tian):
The Student Research League (SRL) provides an important opportunity for our students to apply mathematical knowledge in solving a real-world problem. The competition challenges teams of students to clarify, analyze, and propose applicable solutions to open-ended problems. Along with the development of stronger interpersonal skills provided by the team-based project, SRL credentials give these students a distinct advantage when applying for future internships.
The 2019 SRL problem was titled “To Grid or Not to Grid,” a great topic related to increasing clean energy and environmental sustainability. This is a timely and relevant topic, as it is a widely-held imperative to reduce our individual impact on the environment and focus on the production and consumption of eco-friendly sources of electricity such as solar, wind, or bioelectric energy.
In November 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced selections for $128 million in new projects to advance solar technologies. Our students have proposed the modification of a house in Northern Wisconsin, using a hybrid system including solar energy and wind turbine energy to replace the traditional power grid. They have mathematically conducted the cost-benefit analysis and projected the immediate and long-term fiscal and environmental impacts of such modifications.
In my role as faculty mentor for the student team, I was able to not only guide their acquisition of deeper knowledge and skill levels in mathematics, but to encourage their process of putting that knowledge into practice.
This was my first year participating as a mentor for the Student Research League. I didn’t have any real idea of what to expect, but I knew that I wanted to help the students at my college. Since I taught a different campus, I offered to mentor an online team. When my team of students dwindled from three to one, I was concerned that the remaining student would be overwhelmed. I guided the best that I could, but she proved to be more than up to the task by becoming the overall winner. She has inspired me to mentor again in 2020 and I’m also looking to become an evaluator as well (for a different region, of course). I strongly encourage others to become mentors and to get your colleagues involved.
The SRL experience was valuable for me because it offered me a more effective research-based learning style. I enjoyed the whole research process, from finding sources to working out the solutions with my teammates. I really appreciate this great opportunity to participate in SRL and I have learned a great deal from it.
~ Anna (Yuchi) Dong
I really would like to thank AMATYC for providing us this fantastic opportunity and for their recognition of our team. To solve the problem at hand, we mathematically analyzed the combinations of different energy in Wisconsin. It is fabulous for us to win the national award, but more importantly, it is much more meaningful to find the most affordable and eco-friendly energy generation methods.
~ Andy (Sicheng) Mo