2015 SFI REUs


2015 Final Presentation: Video

Bio: Jess is a fourth year mathematics major at Oberlin College. Their research experience includes work with Christopher Moore using tools from random matrix theory to study community structure in large networks, as well as a project with SFI external faculty Jessica Flack and David Krakauer modeling the effects of electronic communication on the topology and geometry of human social space. Jess was born and raised in Madison, WI, and they are a guitarist and songwriter with a passion for running, queer theory, and the work of Charlie Mingus, David Lynch, and Erykah Badu.

My Science Hero: V. S. Ramachandran

My Favorite Science Quote: `A science is said to be useful if its development tends to accentuate the existing inequalities in the distribution of wealth, or more directly promotes the destruction of human life. The theory of prime numbers satisfies no such criteria. Those who pursue it will, if they are wise, make no attempt to justify their interest in a subject so trivial and so remote, and will console themselves with the thought that the greatest mathematicians of all ages have found it in it a mysterious attraction impossible to resist.' - G.H. Hardy

Why Science Inspires Me: If humans are `for' anything (and I'm not certain that we are) it is to find meaning and structure in the the chaos that surrounds us. Science is among the loftiest of all our pursuits; it is an immeasurably vast and often thankless task at which we toil nonetheless, perhaps because we cannot help ourselves.

SFI MENTORS:  Christopher Moore and Pan Zhang

SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: Sparse Graphs with Maximal Ising Magnetization 

2014 Final Paper: Community Detection with the z-Laplacian 

2014 Final Presentation: Video


Final Presentation: Video

Bio: My name is Maurice Bokanga. I've lived in a few places but for the most part I grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. I am currently a junior at Wheaton College studying sociology and computer science. My research interests entail the complex dynamics of urban systems around the world including how these systems grow and how they can develop sustainably. I'm also interested in how interaction between social, market, and government forces shape sustainability outcomes. My hobbies include casually learning about philosophy, enjoying anime and manga, and indulging interesting questions, conversations, and ideas.

My Science Hero: Nikola Tesla

My Favorite Science Quote: "It is not enough that you should understand about applied science in order that your work may increase man's blessings. Concern for the man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors; concern for the great unsolved problems of the organization of labor and the distribution of goods in order that the creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations." - Albert Einstein

Why Science Inspires Me: Science is a tool that helps us form a more coherent picture of the universe. It shows us a world with many varied and beautiful connections. It helps us realize how fragile and minuscule we are while simultaneously demonstrating that we are capable of great and amazing things.

SFI MENTORS: Laurent Hébert-Dufresne and Markus Schlapfer

SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: Towards a more substantive account of cities 


Final Presentation:  Video

Bio: Sarah Brauner is a junior at Reed College studying Math and Economics. She has research experience in game theory, economic development and international corporate taxation. In the future, she hopes to learn a lot more math and do a lot more hiking.

My Science Hero: Claude Shannon

My Favorite Science Quote: "The fully enlightened earth radiates disaster triumphant." Adorno and Horkheimer

Why Science Inspires Me: It's pretty incredible that there exists this set of human-created tools which allow us to collectively build upon and characterize the absurdity going on around us.

SFI MENTOR: Joshua Grochow

SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: Sorting and the Information-Theoretic Bound: A Structural Analysis 


Final Presentation: Video

Bio: My name is Justin Carmichael and I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am currently a Senior studying Computer Science at the University of New Mexico. For the past two years, I have been working on the iAnt project for Dr. Melanie Moses, which involves the study of biologically-inspired swarm robots. I plan to continue on to graduate school at UNM where I hope to study complex adaptive systems and possibly continue work in swarm robotics. Outside of school and research, I enjoy reading, craft beer, comic books, and music.

My Science Hero: Charles Darwin

My Favorite Science Quote: "We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done." -Alan Turing

Why Science Inspires Me: Science inspires me because it allows people, no matter their background, to understand the world better. It makes the world both larger and smaller at the same time.

SFI MENTORS: Eric Libby and Andrew Berdahl

SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: Balancing Foraging and Predation: The Evolution of Collective Behavior in Fish


Final Presentation: Video

Bio: Hi, I'm Christy, a third year undergraduate student in physics and mathematics at Arizona State University. I have always been fascinated by the way patterns are manifested in our everyday world. Whether it's looking up at the clouds in the sky or observing an ant colony, I feel a deep passion for understanding the emergence of order in complex systems. As an undergraduate researcher, my research interests lie in observing and understanding the behaviour of complex adaptive systems, in particular those found in biological systems. In my spare time, I also enjoy reading literature and poetry, playing songs on the guitar, volunteering for outreach events, camping, stargazing, hiking, long distance running and exploring new places.

SFI MENTORS: Sidney Redner and Andrew Berdahl

SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: Stochastic Search in 1D: Optimizing the search time 


Final Presentation: Video

Bio: Rosemary Elliott Smith is a student of the physical sciences, with a particular passion for mathematics. She attends the University of California, San Diego as a first year mathematics major. Rose is working on a project that analyzes traditional music as part of Doctor David Meyer's research group. She is also a member of the competitive archery team at UCSD and a dedicated lover of martial arts and painting.

My Science Hero: Leonhard Euler

My Favorite Science Quote: "The only difference between science and screwing around is writing it down." - Adam Savage

Why Science Inspires Me: Science inspires me because it is a way to understand the universe. It is also truly challenging.

SFI MENTOR: Tanmoy Bhattacharya

SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: Music from a map- the relation of sound characteristics to geography


Bio: Elizabeth E. Esterly is a junior Computer Science student at the University of New Mexico. She is working with Dr. Melanie Moses' Biological Computation Lab on a large-scale outreach project, The Swarmathon, that was developed in collaboration with NASA. She recently attended ICRA 2015 in Seattle, where she did a poster presentation. Her interests in Computer Science are Swarm Robotics and performing outreach, specificially using the LEGO Mindstorms to that end. When not messing around with LEGOs, she also enjoys hanging out with her husband and dog, and sneaking in a little time for video games. She plans to pursue a PhD in Computer Science. Website

SFI MENTOR: Melanie Moses


Bio: Antonio Griego is a Junior at the University of New Mexico majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Studio Art. His first experience with research came with a summer NSF-Step internship where he had the privilege of working with Professor Melanie Moses on the iAnt robotics project. Antonio worked on developing simulation software for iAnts using ARGoS (Autonomous Robots Go Swarming). Antonio is planning to pursue a Master's Degree in Computer Science. An avid gamer, when he's not diving headfirst into a coding project he's playing RPG's, reading manga, watching anime, or playing board games with friends.

SFI MENTOR: Melanie Moses


Santa Fe Preparatory School

SFI MENTOR: Luis Bettencourt


Final Presentation: Video

Bio: Bradi is a second year student at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) majoring in cognitive science and political science. In the past her research has largely been focused on the concepts of identity and group status, examining factors of race, gender, cooperation, and competition as they apply to such domains as video gaming, belongingness in STEM fields, media violence, and moral conviction. Besides a heart-fluttering adoration for science and questions of human behavior, Bradi also holds a deep-seated appreciation for street art, poetry, riveting conversation, documentary & book recommendations, Appalachian music, backpacking, and creatively-potted plants.

My Science Hero: Alan Turing

My Favorite Science Quote: “Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly; Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?' Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land; Man got to tell himself he understand.” -Kurt Vonnegut, "Cat's Cradle"

Why Science Inspires Me: Science inspires me because the deeper you dig into it, the more you realize just how connected everything is--including how connected we are to each other and to our environments.


SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: Norms that Govern: the Case of Wikipedia 

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Bio: I was born in China. I also spent a few years living in Thailand and traveling around Southeast Asia. I was home-schooled before coming to St. John's College. I love reading, writing, music, skiing, movies, and learning languages. I am currently interested in learning Modern Greek, psychology, behavioral studies, and math.

SFI MENTOR: Caitlin Stern


Final Presentation: Video

Bio: I am a rising Junior at the University of California, Berkeley studying Electrical Engineering & Computer Science along with Engineering Mathematics & Statistics. Hailing from the greater Washington D.C. area, I certainly don't miss the lack of snow on the west coast. While neuroscience doesn't exactly fit into any of my majors, I am actually obsessed with learning about how the brain works and, in turn, hopefully learning from the brain on how to develop novel AI algorithms. For fun, I play pool, ping-pong, soccer, and basketball; I watch lots of sports, and I love Thai food. A quote I like: "The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge." - Daniel J. Boorstin

My Science Hero: Alan Turing

My Favorite Science Quote: "The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge." --Daniel J. Boorstin

Why Science Inspires Me: Science gives you the knowledge to understand the world around you. The more you understand, the better you can predict and control, which, I believe, is what god-like intelligence ultimately boils down to.

SFI MENTOR: Josh Grochow

SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT:  Total Information Flow in Stochastic Networks 


Bio: Although I am a Texas native, I have long looked upon Santa Fe in the light of a second home. I am currently a sophomore at Marlboro College in Vermont, where I intend to pursue a degree in anthropology. Chief among my subjects of interest are cultural anthropology, history, religion (specifically religious change), identity, and politics. I am particularly interested in south-central Vietnam and hope to conduct work among the Cham and such upland-dwelling minorities as the Raglai, Jarai, Sre, and Sedang. My primary geographic areas of focus include Indochina, Malaya and the Malay Archipelago, sub-Saharan Africa, Myanmar, the Baltic States, and eastern Germany. In my private life, I enjoy traveling, writing, reading, seeing films, creating thematic maps, collecting African and Oceanic art, hiking, and spending time with family, friends, and pets.

SFI MENTORS: Dr. Luis Bettencourt, Dr. Christa Brelsford, Joe Hand, and Dr. Deborah Strumsky

SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: As an REU, I have been collaborating with Dr. Luis Bettencourt, Dr. Christa Brelsford, Joe Hand, and Dr. Deborah Strumsky on the Cities, Scaling and Sustainability project, whose principal aim is to advance a quantitative approach to the study of complex urban forms. Our findings will serve to cast some light upon the nature of cities and kindred forms of human social organization and lay the foundation for future academic work in this important area. I am concerned with, inter alia, collecting low-level socioeconomic census data; using spatial analysis to understand urban transformation (for which purpose I have been digitizing cadastral maps); and employing statistical models to evaluate the properties of various urban systems.


Final Presentation: Video

Bio: I am a junior studying biology and mathematics at the University of Montana. I am especially interested in evolution and genomics. Outside of school I love to run, bike, swim, and cross-country ski.

SFI MENTOR: Sam Scarpino

SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: Studying disease underreporting using population genetics 


Bio: Rosana Rogiski is a senior exchange student from Brazil in Computer Science. Last year she has studied at University of Nebraska - Lincoln and will graduate in December,2015. She has research experience in Complex Networks (analysis) and some experience in Databases Administration and Andriod and Web Development. In the future she wants an Academic Career in Complex Networks and expects learn more about this field.

My Science Hero: Albert Einstein

My Favorite Science Quote: "We must encourage children to learn having fun, to build a new democracy and to remove the rubble of inferiority that we have accumulated throughout history" - Miguel Nicolelis

Why Science Inspires Me:  Because science is the basis for the world`s development.

SFI MENTOR: Christopher Moore

SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: Community detection in multiplex networks 


Final Presentation: Video

Bio: Hello friends! My name is Ian and I grew up in Metro-Atlanta. I am currently a member of the founding class at Minerva, a brand new global liberal arts school. When not climbing or playing soccer, I enjoy philosophizing with friends and leading outdoor exploration trips. I am extremely excited to meet you all and explore the complexity of our world together!

My Science Hero: Jacque Cousteau

My Favorite Science Quote: "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants." Newton

Why Science Inspires Me: Science is the nexus of rigor and practicality, curiosity and constraint, collaborative thinking and individual exploration.

SFI MENTOR: Andrew Berdahl

SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: Heterogeneity Within SelfOrganizing Animal Groups 


Final Presentation: Video

Bio: I am a current sophomore of St.John's college. I am interested in logic, math, and cognitive science.

SFI MENTORS: Mirta Galesic and Simon DeDeo

SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: Social influence in a world of King Oedipus 





*Non NSF Funded Undergraduate Researcher