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PRIMES: Uma Roy's Story



Like many other students who love mathematics, I have always liked pondering problems and exploring patterns. But the MIT-PRIMES program provided me with the opportunity to take this passion and direct it towards doing actual mathematics research. I cannot recommend this program highly enough for anyone who loves mathematics and wishes to get a taste of the research experience while in high school.

Research can definitely be intimidating—unlike contest math, there are no clear cut solutions and no easy tricks for solving problems. Instead, the problems you explore gnaw constantly at the back of your mind and at times not having a clear direction forward can be daunting. However, my weekly meetings and flurry of emails with my mentor, Alisa Knizel, helped guide my exploration of the project my partner and I were doing. Every step of the way I felt extremely challenged but also adequately equipped because of Alisa’s guidance. I was always impressed with her insight and ability to gently guide me and my partner—she gave us sufficient freedom to tackle the problem as creatively as we wanted but also gave us direction and motivation. It was inspiring to work together as a team on our project and have our ideas culminate in beautiful results that we had all contributed to.

Doing the MIT-PRIMES program has unquestionably solidified my love for mathematics. The beautiful results I found after days or even weeks of pondering have inspired me to continue my mathematical explorations. Again, I cannot emphasize enough how instrumental this program has been in my mathematical growth and I thank MIT and everyone involved in the PRIMES program for providing me with such a great opportunity.

Uma Roy worked with Niket Gowravaram on the joint project Diagrammatic Calculus of Coxeter and Braid Groups under the mentorship of Alisa Knizel.

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