of International Experience
State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Sao Paolo, Brazil
Description of Partners and Discipline/Research
In 2006-07, three fellows and one teacher partner participated.
GK-12 fellows and graduate students from UNICAMP engaged
in mathematical research supervised by faculty from the
university. (The Brazilian students were funded by the
Federal Brazilian Agency CNPq.) The GK-12 teacher attended
professional development programs for teachers at the
university, interacted with Brazilian teachers, and worked
on a mathematical problem supervised by the PI. The teacher
also interacted with Brazilian graduate students, especially
one who works with teachers in the professional development
Cynthia Shepherd did
a research paper on composite membranes along with
graduate students Aldo Lopes (Brazilian student) and
Russell Howes. This project was under the advisement
of Professor Renato Pedrosa, UNICAMP, and part of
the International Research Experience for Students Program.
Sara Frietze worked
with graduate students Robert Gerrity and Tiago Picon
(Brazilian student). Their work, supervised by Brazilian
researchers, Helena Lopes and Max Souza, concerned fluid
flow in an annulus within the low-viscosity limit. This
was an open problem in fluid mechanics. The analysis
of velocity solutions and vorticity production in the
inviscid limit led to a solution at the end of the four-week
program. Drs. Lopes and Souza will use the work completed
in the summer by the graduate students to publish a paper
in a journal of mathematics.
Tigran Mkrtchyan participated
in a workshop on differential geometry at UNICAMP in
Tania Lopes wrote
a paper comparing Brazilian and California standards
for high school mathematics. She also worked on a topic
of Hyperbolic Geometry that she presented in the Masters
Program for teachers at CSUN.
Fellows wrote research articles and made presentations.
Cynthia Shepherd presented a poster at the National
Science Foundation during the Annual GK-12 meeting. Sara
Frietze spoke about her research in the PDE section of
the AMS/MAA joint meeting in New Orleans in January,
2007. This experience had a positive impact on their
futures as mathematicians. In addition to the mathematical
research, Fellows learned the benefits of an international
collaboration, expanding their views of the scientific
world and gaining cultural experiences that can impact
their communication and teamwork skills.
Upon their return from Brazil, Fellows asked the students
in their high school classes how much they knew about
Brazil. They discovered that not much more is known about
the country other than soccer and carnival. Fellows and
the teacher shared their cultural experiences with the
students, and then did a presentation on Brazilian high
school mathematics standards for all GK-12 teachers participating
in the FERMAT program.
The main challenges of an international collaboration
relate to differences in language and the development
of solid contacts with the foreign faculty and teachers.
Because the PI for this project is from Brazil, these
difficulties were minimized.
In 2007-08, three Fellows, Emily Schinitger, Scott Northrup,
and Yeranuhi Semerdjian, will travel to Brazil to do
research with Brazilian students supervised by university
mathematicians. These Fellows will also meet with some
of the teachers from the school that will be visited
by a GK-12 teacher in Spring 2008.
Profile date: July 2007