Cameron University Department of Mathematical Sciences awarded $3,000 grant to participate in “Preparation for Industrial Career in Mathematical Sciences (PIC Math)”

The Cameron University Department of Mathematical Sciences has been awarded a $3,000 grant from the National Science Foundation/Mathematical Association of America (MAA) that will allow Cameron math, chemistry, biology, engineering and computing and technology students to participate in MAA’s PIC Math (Preparation for Industrial Careers in Mathematical Sciences) program. Cameron is one of only 49 universities across the county to be selected for participation in PIC Math, which prepares students for industrial careers by engaging them in research problems that come directly from business and industry.

“Career opportunities in business and industry for graduates with a degree in mathematical sciences are vast,” says Dr. Narayan Thapa, Chair, Cameron Department of Mathematical Sciences. “Thanks to this significant grant, Cameron students will gain valuable hands-on experience in applying their academic knowledge to real-life research projects. This will allow our students to explore just a small portion of the multitude of business sectors in which mathematicians find career success and achievement.”

 During the Spring 2016 semester, 18 students from academic disciplines within the School of Science and Technology will work on two undergraduate research projects which were generated directly from business, industry and/or government. The projects assigned to Cameron’s research project are “Using Internet Data to Forecast Diseases” and “An Advection-Diffusion-Reaction Model for Drug Distribution in Moving Biofluids.”  During the course of the research, the students will gain valuable experience in problem-solving, critical thinking, independent thinking and communication.

The goal of “Using Internet Data to Forecast Diseases” is to determine if one can use Internet data to monitor and/or forecast diseases or disease-related behavior in a specific community and/or around the world. Students working on this research project will have direct access to Dr. Sara Del Valle, Los Alamos National Lab, who serves as the Industrial Liaison.

Students working on “An Advection-Diffusion-Reaction Model for Drug Distribution in Moving Biofluids” will seek to gain an understanding of how drugs bind to proteins as these compounds travel toward their ultimate targets. This project is mentored by Industrial Liaison Dr. Jeffrey Saltzman, Head of Predictive Sciences Strategic Program at AstraZeneca.

Students participating in the PIC Math research project are:

Duncan: Brandon Payne

Elgin:  Katherine Hendricks

Jhapa, Nepal: Abhaya Paudel

Kathmandu, Nepal: Kaina Khadka, Ujjwol Khatri, Jashmon Rana, Suresh Sunuwar

Kavrepalanchok, Nepal:  Samikchhya Humagain

Lalitpur, Nepal:  Ayush Joshi

Lawton/Fort Sill: Tyler Bishop, Anna Chen, Violet Hein, James King, Monique Smith, Jeein Yoon

Makawanpur, Nepal:  Sujana Rupakhati

Oklahoma City:  Natalie Wimer

Faculty members from the Department of Mathematical Sciences will serve as mentors for the research project. In addition to Thapa, they are Dr. Ioannis Argyros, Professor; Dr. James Dover, Assistant Professor; and Irene Corriette, Instructor.

The PIC Math Program has three goals:

•     To increase awareness among mathematical sciences faculty and undergraduates about non-academic career options

•     To provide research experience working on real problems from business, industry, and government

•     To prepare students for industrial careers

The Cameron students will present their results in person and be recognized for their competition accomplishments at the annual conference of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), scheduled for July 2016 in Boston.

Funding for this project is provided by NSF grant DMS-1345499 through the MAA Preparation for Industrial Careers in Mathematical Sciences Program (PIC Math),


January 11, 2016