(September 28, 2011)

Contact: Dena Pruett, Centenary Marketing & Communication, 318.869.5715

Centenary Students Complete, Present Summer Research

SHREVEPORT, LA — Two junior Centenary math majors recently presented their summer research to peers and faculty members at a research colloquium held on campus. Jackson Blankstein and Alexandra Larsen participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, funded by the National Science Foundation, over the summer.

Jackson Blankstein

Alexandra Larsen

“I was completely immersed in mathematics, from the daily research meetings to learning about exciting topics that I’ve never even dreamed about,” said Blankstein. “I was in awe sometimes at the fact that I had multiple top mathematicians at my disposal to pick their brains. Without guidance from Dr. Mark Goadrich and Dr. Troy Messina, I would not have gotten the chance to go to southern California.”

Jackson Blankstein was chosen for an eight-week clinic in Claremont McKenna College’s Mathematics REU based on the campus of Pomona College in California. He studied virtual knots—a type of knot that that cannot fit in ordinary space. At Centenary’s recent colloquium, Blankstein presented on “Virtual Shadow Modules and their Link Invariants.”

“My advisor, Dr. Katherine Brandl, recommended that I apply to an REU,” It was a life-changing experience,” said Larsen. “It was a life-changing experience. I enjoyed working in the stimulating atmosphere at Rice so much that I’ve decided to pursue a graduate degree in statistics.”

Alexandra Larsen was one of 18 students selected to participate in a 10-week statistics research program called RUSIS at Rice University. During the summer, Larsen worked with a team of students from all over the country to build a predictive statistics model. Her presentation for the colloquium was focused on “Reliability of Networks with Radial Topography under Shocks and Stresses.”

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program of the National Science Foundation supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the NSF. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. To learn more, visit www.NSF.gov.

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 371 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.