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PRIMES: Leigh Marie Braswell's Story


I realized my passion for mathematics by solving contest problems, but I did not discover how exciting mathematical research could be until I started my PRIMES project. For years, I had pondered problems with guaranteed solutions that could be solved in a few hours. PRIMES opened my eyes to uncharted mathematical territory and equipped me with the tools to explore it.

My mentor Tanya Khovanova offered invaluable guidance and support in all stages of the project. She taught me how to work towards my big question by completing small tasks, and she navigated me through the jungle of higher-level mathematics. On our first meeting, we made conjectures that would become a focus of my research. I slowly progressed from this initial excitement by proving those and other statements over the next few months.

Though my day-to-day work and correspondence with my mentor brought me hours of entertainment and joy, I saw the culmination of my efforts when I presented at the PRIMES conference and co-wrote a paper. PRIMES gave me the knowledge, confidence, and experience necessary to continue researching in mathematics. Everyone with an interest in problem-solving would benefit enormously from participation in such an excellent program. If you want to appreciate the beauty of mathematics by creating and solving new problems, I highly recommend applying!


Leigh Marie Braswell worked on the project The Cookie Monster Problem under the mentorship of Dr. Tanya Khovanova.

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