What is my job exactly? That’s a difficult question to answer thoroughly. I’m Kyle, research assistant for the Mathematics Department. To summarize simply–as part of my co-op responsibilities, I solve math problems and present these findings to my supervisor. The core requirement of my position is to develop rigorous proofs while independently researching a branch of graph theory involving homomorphisms and duality theorems. Half the day is spent analyzing academic documents, the other half is dedicated to solving mathematical problems. To conclude each day, I document my work through software called LaTeX, (Which I highly recommended to those writing mathematical notations).
For those not mathematically minded, my job description might not provide much clarity. Perhaps it is easier to explain why I chose to do research. My fascination with science has been long-standing; I’ve always sought to find deeper connections to the concepts that are taught in standard classrooms. I also wanted to contribute my own findings to the monolith of information. Though research is very analytical, it can also be expressive and creative. Research has its complications and obstacles–but those “Eureka!” moments feel like breaking through a brick wall.
In the summer of 2016, I attended the Canadian Undergraduate Math Conference in Victoria. Without the Co-op program, I wouldn’t have been able to attend or share my work with other young researchers. Undergraduate research is a unique experience and I encourage others to pursue these positions. I’m humbled to have been given this employment opportunity. I’m grateful that my coordinator encouraged me to pursue a research position. It’s a rare chance to further develop educational depth, and connect with post-graduation employment possibilities. The program made me realize why I went to university in the first place—to do something that you love.
For more information about the TRU Co-op program visit the website or call 250-371-5627.