Summer 2021 DRUMS Directed Research for Undergraduates in Math and Statistics

Research Projects 

The Mathematics and Statistics Departments of North Carolina State University invite qualified applicants for a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program that pairs mathematics and statistics students for interdisciplinary summer research projects. Proposed projects span applications in applications including disease modeling (COVID-19), physiology, imaging, and extreme weather events; using tools from linear algebra, partial differential equations, probability, sensitivity analysis, parameter inference, optimization, and machine learning.  In addition to the technical aspects of the program, students also receive a background on useful auxiliary skills like mathematical programming, writing reports in LaTeX, applying for graduate school, and preparing scientific presentations.

For the DRUMS program 20 students will work at NCSU (or remotely if COVID restrictions remain) for 10 weeks during the summer and and the 2021 fall semester.  Formal summer activities will be May 24th – August 1st, with arrival on May 23rd  and departure on August 1st.  The work during the fall semester will be conducted online. The time commitment for this part of the program will be approximately 5 hours per week including a 1h weekly remote meeting.

We encourage students of all backgrounds to apply.  This includes students who might have  nontraditional mathematical and/or statistical training, or who are just beginning their mathematical studies.

Students will need to submit a curriculum vitae/resume, a transcript (unofficial is fine), and two reference letters. In addition, students will need to submit a one-page personal statement. One letter should list a local faculty member who is willing to serve as a contact to NCSU faculty (the contact person is needed to help applicants during the fall semester). The personal statement should include reason(s) why you wish to participate in the DRUMS REU at NCSU.

Due to restrictions from NSF and NSA, our program is restricted to US citizens and permanent residents, and participants must be undergraduate students at the time of participation.

Students will receive a stipend in the amount of $6,000 for the 10 weeks, housing, a partial meal allowance, and travel support up to $500 per student to cover transport to and from NCSU.

Application Deadline: Review of applications begins February 15 and will continue until all slots are filled. Please apply at

Contact Information:

Mette Olufsen (, Professor of Mathematics, North Carolina State University




Dr. Brian Reich (, Distinguished Professor of Statistics, North Carolina State University




Required Application Material

  • Cover letter
  • CV or Resume
  • Transcript (Unofficial is acceptable)
  • Personal statement (1-2 pages, include name of local faculty mentor)
  • Mentoring letter from local faculty member
  • Two reference letters (submitted online by reference writers)


Module 1 (Preparation – Online): Online meeting with NCSU faculty mentor 1-2 weeks before the start of the summer module. During this meeting, the group will discuss what to read to prepare for the summer project. Once the teams are finalized, a faculty mentor will reach out to teams (via email) to arrange this meeting.

Module 2 (Summer Research – Face-to-Face):

Sunday (5/23): Arrival at NCSU

Week 1 (5/24-5/28)

  • Project presentation
  • Safety orientation and welcome reception
  • Research seminar: Student teams will present goals for the summer

Week 2-9 (5/31-7/23)

  • Work on projects
  • Weekly research seminars with student and faculty presentations
  • Special topics seminars dedicated to research ethics, applying to graduate school and graduate fellowships, how to give effective presentations, how to write a scientific paper, etc.
  • Registration for NCSU summer research symposium

Week 10 (7/26-7/30)

  • Complete poster for NCSU summer research symposium
  • Complete draft manuscript discriminating results
  • Plan fall semester meetings
  • NCSU summer research symposium

Saturday (7/31): Departure from NCSU

Module 3 (Continuation – Online): The continuation module starts around September 1st depending on semester start for students in each team. During the fall semester the students will have weekly online meetings with the NCSU and local faculty mentors. Local mentors are invited to participate but will mainly serve by facilitating the meetings and help students adhere to deadlines. Students may submit abstracts to JMM or another conference, complete and submit their research for publication. Student teams can apply for support for a fall semester face-to-face meeting. This meeting should be scheduled for mid/late October on Fri-Sun or Sat-Mon timeline including a weekday so the NCSU faculty can interact with local faculty and students.

Notification Policy

All applicants will be notified by email about the completeness of their application a couple of days after the deadline. Unless previously notified, a final notification that the search is closed will be emailed after all positions have been filled and confirmed (this could take a month).  If you have any questions about the status of your application, especially if you are trying to make a decision on accepting another summer position, please email the program directors who will be happy to send you a prompt response.