My STEP Signature project involved doing math research with the Knots and Graphs program at OSU. I conducted research relating to Khovanov Homology and Biquandle Brackets.
I found out that I enjoy doing research and presenting work at conferences, etc. This experience helped me grow as a researcher and as a presenter. I assumed previously that I wouldn’t like research. But this experience changed my mind. I thought it would be too hard. While it was a challenging experience, I grew a lot from it and was transformed, so it was a worthwhile experience. Specifically, I learned how to apply myself and work hard on one particular problem, which is something I haven’t really done before. This allowed me to more fully understand what research is and why it can be something worthwhile.
Delving into literature on the topic helped me more fully understand the topic, and this combined with brainstorming and working with my group helped me understand what research is really about. This helped me understand that I want to continue doing research. Additionally, we presented at a conference at the end of the summer. This experience made me realize I enjoy presenting my work as well.
I worked hard to create our presentation for the conference and to finish up a paper that we had started last year. Making these contributions was gratifying and I learned how to format information in a way that is understandable to others in order to make reading my paper or attending my presentation a worthwhile and educational experience.
Also, I learned to figure out what other people think is important or difficult, and this has helped me teach math to others. I use this knowledge in my current job as a TA for a math class now. Additionally, this experience showed me how to work with a group on a hard problem. Overall, these experiences will be useful to me in my future career doing mathematics.
This is valuable to me because I plan to complete a graduate degree and become a researcher. This experience helped me solidify my goals. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after graduation, but now I know I want to attend graduate school and do math research and teach as a career. This experience was a good first step in that direction.