2010 Scholars

Sarah Stanley

Sarah Stanley

Kathryn "Kaye" Stripling UH Tier One Scholarship Endowment

Classification: Senior
Graduation Year: 2014
College: College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Majors: Double Degree: B.S. in mathematics, B.A. in music
High School: Home School
Hometown: Houston, TX

Spotlight: Trailblazing a Path to Graduate School through Early Research

About Me

As a math major and a music major, I enjoy a unique balance of creativity and challenge in my academic career.  I am intrigued by the thousands of applications that math has to the scientific world and motivated by the prospect of delving into new areas of study and finding solutions to unanswered questions.  Yet as every mathematician knows, problem solving can be an energy drain and can lead to frustration when the solution remains especially elusive.  It is in this situation that I ultimately turn to the piano which has become a respite when I am mathematically spent.  Because music demands a relaxed performer, it has the unique quality of simultaneously resting the mind and replenishing brain cells.  Music inspires a fresh perspective of life, and in some instances, a fresh perspective of a math problem.  As a musical mathematician, I am extremely goal driven and excel at time management.  I strive to give 110 percent in my work and to accomplish it in the most efficient way possible.  In my rapidly diminishing spare time, I enjoy running, reading classic fiction, and scrapbooking.

Campus and Community Involvement

From an early age, I was taught the value of community involvement and the honor of leadership.  Here at UH, I enjoy serving as an NSM ambassador and as the president of Pi Mu Epsilon Math Honor Society.  I am also involved in the Golden Key International Honor Society, the Student Government Association, the Honors College, FOTOS, and Omicron Delta Kappa.  In the community, I enjoy tutoring high school math students, teaching a kindergarten lifegroup class at my church, and serving as an emergency response radio operator for the Harris County POD sites.   As well, I teach piano and volunteer in area nursing homes and churches as a musician, balancing my computational side with an additional outlet for creativity.

Honors and Awards

In addition to the Tier One Scholarship, I received the State of Texas Academic Excellence Scholarship, math scholarships, teaching scholarships, and community service scholarships.  In the spring of 2012, I was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest, largest, and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines.

Study Abroad

When I study abroad, I would like to go to Budapest, Hungary which offers one of the highest caliber math programs in the world.  The classes are extremely rigorous and renowned for their difficulty, making the Budapest program an excellent preparation for graduate school.  As well, the program offers a two week Hungarian language class and country side tours, ensuring a well-rounded, cultural experience.

Research

Last spring, I received a PURS scholarship and began a research project in mathematical biology.  Working in conjunction with Dr. William Ott, I studied the effects of stochastic delay on signal propagation in gene regulatory networks.  Through mathematical modeling and simulations, my research group was able to provide convincing evidence that increasing variance in delay decreases overall signaling time during protein synthesis.  This project has been one of the best experiences I have had at UH, increasing my confidence in both research and presentation skills.  I was able to present my project not only at the Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium hosted by the Honors College, but also at the SIAM national math conference in Minneapolis this summer.  In short, undergraduate research has strengthened my desire to pursue a research career in applied mathematics, and I look forward to continuing my research experience in the coming semesters.  

Future Endeavors

Presently, I plan to attend graduate school pursuing a PhD in applied math, specifically focusing on mathematical biology.  My goal is to become a professor and researcher at a major university where I can combine my loves for learning and teaching.