Sunday, June 08, 2008

All in

We're set.

In ten and a half hours we'll begin officially the 2008 installment of our REU.

I'm excited.

And nervous.

These are some smart people I'll be working with; it's evident in their conversations, their interests, in the way they carry themselves and express themselves. They're sharp.

What'll they be like as colleagues, tomorrow and beyond? As I was telling Thalia last night, I hope that this summer we can succeed in forming a community of learners in which no one is deemed as The Expert™, in which we all feel free to question and learn from one another as equals. The only difference between me and her is that I've been doing it for a few more years than has she; time will erase that advantage too, and if she keeps at it ten years down the line we'll be sitting in a side room at some conference, yammering away and remembering our conversation ten years back.

Last year's group: where are they now?

I've been in fairly close contact with five of last year's eight.

A couple of days ago I invited Kieran to come down at some point in the next eight weeks and give a talk about his current research program. He may be able to make it, he's not sure. He's got a lot to get ready for in the fall, when he begins graduate work at the University of Kentucky. He's got his name on a paper with me and my next-door neighbor in the department, on one that's been submitted to Complex Systems.

As I mentioned a few days back, I've been spending some time during the last couple of days retooling a draft of a paper I'll be submitting with my name alongside Wilhelmina's and Mirabel's. I may shoot for Communications in Algebra again; we'll see. Mirabel will be headed southward in the fall; she begins grad work at Wake Forest in August. I hope I'll get a chance to do some more work with her.

I'll be incorporating work by Nestor into the sequel to my paper that will soon appear in Discrete Mathematics; I don't think this sequel will sit for long before getting snapped up by a pretty decent journal.

And twice this past half-year I've seen Opal at conferences. I don't know if she intends to keep on keepin' on once she finishes her undergraduate degree, but I'm sure she's bound to do good things.

Where will this year's eight find themselves in the coming years?

Six of the eight are rising seniors (three last year), one is a rising junior (five last year), and one a rising sophomore (none last year), so this year's crowd is slightly older on average. As a whole they seem a little more sure about themselves and their mathematical futures than last year's group did. Grad school's a likely feature in all of these kid's futures.

I'm sure I'm setting myself up for a heavy round of rec-letter-writing in the fall.

That thought in mind, I'm off to bed; tomorrow promises an early start and a long, long day, crowned by (havah nagilah!) bowling night. I'll so be ready for that by the time 9:00 p.m. rolls around.

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