Through her opportunities at Appalachian State University, Laurel Bates discovered her love of research. After graduation, she hopes to work in a position that allows her to apply mathematics to significant issues people face today – possibly in the environmental, medical or public health field.
Bates chose to study Mathematics (BS) - General because she had always loved math.
“It came more naturally to me than other subjects. I had a feeling that as I studied more math, I’d become more aware of the ways that mathematics are applied and studied. And I’m happy to say that that’s exactly what happened,” she said.
Bates said her classes and research opportunities and the Department of Mathematical Sciences community have been beneficial to her success at Appalachian.
“Of all the experiences I’ve had in the program, there are two that have most shaped my career direction. Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to work with one of my professors on a research project. This project has allowed me to collaborate in an interdisciplinary setting with other students, professors and graduate students and also produce my own research. I’ve learned a lot about interdisciplinary work and the research and writing process.”
The second opportunity Bates recalls most is the opportunity to participate in COMAP’s undergraduate modeling contest. “It was a fun and exciting introduction to application of math modeling on a current issue,” she said.
Bates said that early in her college career, she shied away from professors’ office hours, not wanting to be a burden. However, she quickly realized that the math department faculty members are interested in their students’ success and eager to help.
“I’ve heard that at many larger research universities, it can be hard for undergraduate students to gain research experience. At Appalachian, there are many opportunities for interested students to do interesting research with a mentor,” she said.
The math department offers tea every Thursday and seminars every Friday for students and faculty to interact and learn.
“Your professors will know your name,” Bates said about the math faculty at Appalachian.