Huntington, Ind.—An aptitude for math led Huntington University student Ashley Meyer 7,900 miles from home. Meyer traveled to Hong Kong for an eight-week research experience in the summer of 2007.
A senior mathematics major from Angola, Ind., Meyer conducted research at Hong Kong Baptist University, an experience organized through the Colorado School of Mines and the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates. On the trip, she focused on numerical analysis and scientific computing (math and computers), her data having applications in applied science and engineering. She worked with Dr. Leevan Ling from Hong Kong Baptist University on his research regarding the effective condition number. In short, the effective condition number gives an a priori estimate to the accuracy of a method for solving partial differential equations.
Meyer enjoys Dim Sum with Dr. Graeme Fairweather and students from Hong Kong Baptist University.
Meyer’s typical day included plenty of work, but included some free time as well. “I worked from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with lunch at 1 p.m.,” she said. “In the evening, I’d find a random restaurant, park or museum, and just enjoy the city. On weekends, I’d put in a few hours to touch up loose ends and then explore the city some more.”
Meyer enjoyed her housing accommodations. “I lived in an international house at the university,” she said. “It was like a hotel and even offered maid service.”
Dr. Francis Jones, professor of mathematical sciences, encouraged Meyer to pursue a research experience and to take the steps necessary to go on to graduate school. Meyer said the trip was key in helping her discover what lies in the near future for her.
This is a group photo of eight out of 10 U.S. students participating in the program, along with the advisors, directors, and local Hong Kong Baptist University math students also doing summer research. (Meyer is in the second row, third from the right. Standing to her right is Dr. Graeme Fairweather, Meyer's director from the Colorado School of Mines.)
“The trip gave me an idea of what grad school will be like in the research aspect and what it would be like to get my doctorate,” she said. “It showed me what math research is and what I could possibly do with my math major.”
After she graduates in May, Meyer plans to pursue a Ph.D. in math. She hopes to find a specific area of research interest while in graduate school.
Regarding how Huntington prepared her for the experience, she said, “The project was way more advanced than what I was prepared for. But my classes gave me the background to understand what I was researching. I used the skills I had and learned to read and understand the concepts I was working with.”
The "Big Buddha" is a main tourist attraction at a monastery in Hong Kong.
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