Undergraduate Research/Career Opportunities

Research

At the University of Pittsburgh, undergraduates have the opportunity to engage in research, scholarship and creative experiences with faculty who are leaders in their fields. As members of a top public research university, Pitt undergraduates can choose to engage in a variety of research experiences across schools, disciplines and academic settings. Experience-based learning that complements classroom learning allows Pitt undergraduates to develop mentoring relationships with faculty, gain critical skills, clarify life goals and strengthen career aspirations. Active participation in research, scholarship, and creative endeavors strengthens a sense of belonging to the University and provides an intellectual and social community for undergraduates. For more information on opportunities at the University of Pittsburgh visit the Dietrich School’s Undergraduate Research page. In addition, the University Honors College edits The Pittsburgh Undergraduate  Review that publishes independent undergraduate scholarship.

You may approach any of the faculty in the Mathematics Department to explore the possibility of engaging in a research experience under their direction either formally for credit or simply to experience the opportunity to learn and use mathematics in an informal, non-lecture setting. A listing of the research interests of the current faculty members of the Mathematics Department can be found under Mathematics Department Research or in the side bar here.

There are also many research opportunities in mathematics available outside the University of Pittsburgh. Some are held in university settings while others are run as special summer programs in major mathematics research institutes. You can get an overview of upcoming undergraduate mathematics research opportunities in the US and abroad by visiting the following websites:

You can also find information about what to expect when participating in one of these programs as well as hints on how to prepare your application in the following documents:

Note also the Following Study Abroad Oppotunities

Painter Undergraduate Reasearch Fellowship

The faculty, staff and students of the Mathematics Department would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks to the Painter family for their new endowment for undergraduate research and to our community-at-large for their support and generosity during the recent successful Pitt Day of Giving campaign.

During recent years faculty-mentored undergraduate research in the Mathematics Department has expanded rapidly and become an integral part of a student’s training and experience. A research experience of this sort complements traditional course work with specialized training that can help to prepare undergraduate students for rewarding careers in meaningful research. Our highly successful academic-year undergraduate research program now culminates in an annual MathFest highlighting students’ accomplishments. However, time limitations and academic demands can significantly impact a student’s progress in a research project when conducted during the academic year. As a result, it became increasingly important to identify funding to support projects during the summer, allowing students to continue working full time in Pittsburgh with their chosen faculty advisor.

The Painter family established an endowment in 2019 to fund such scholarly initiatives in the Mathematics Department. The Painter Fellowship fund was created to acknowledge the contributions of Dr. James A. Painter. Dr. Painter’s career in Mathematics began at the University of Pittsburgh where he received a BS degree in Mathematics in 1951. After serving in Korea, he returned to the University of Pittsburgh on the GI Bill to earn an MS in Mathematics in 1954. This was followed with a PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University. After a long and distinguished career at IBM he and his family settled in the DC area where Dr. Painter continued to contribute as an active researcher, consultant and entrepreneur in the computer industry until he passed away in 2018. His family says that Dr. Painter was a big believer in the value of education and that his time at the University of Pittsburgh, especially as a student in the Mathematics Department, proved important in launching his own career. This new endowment created by the family in honor of Dr. Painter provides a $2000 stipend for each of three Painter Undergraduate Research Fellows (PURF) to pursue their research initiatives for 8 weeks during the summer, beginning in 2021.

2021 Painter Undergraduate Research Fellows (and Mentors):

  • Madeline McCrea (Jon Rubin & Bard Ermentrout)
  • Riley Debski (Carl Wang-Erickson)
  • Gabriel Weiner (Thomas Gilton)

External Opportunities in Mathematics

Careers, Jobs, and Internships

The following sites provide information on summer programs offering a broad spectrum of opportunities from internships in major corporations to counselor positions in summer math camps: