Anthony Dean Stefan
09 Mar 2019
Now that I’m in my last year of undergrad and I’m looking back at all my experiences throughout college, I cannot help but appreciate participating in a SCUDEM challenge. This modeling challenge is perfect for understanding your strengths and weaknesses because of the dynamic aspects to the competition. It’s more than just a situation to model, there is also a self-evaluation that helps you grow as a individual. I really believe that peers can learn from each other because of the competition’s oral and writing duality. This forces the team to choose which student should be designated to a certain part of the overall project in order to be done in time. For example, I was out of my comfort zone when we held meetings to write the executive summary. I realized my writing style faded and my grammar became messy. This is where the help of my teammates came in handy, most of my skills were refreshed so that I could write scientifically, concisely, and correctly. What did you guys think? Was there a skill that you realized you could advance in? I’m so grateful for that realization now that I am approaching graduate school. I also really enjoyed working with my professor throughout the competition. I believe there is a greater experience when being coached in your studies, rather than usually only being tutored or lectured at. Speaking of lecture, this challenge was unique from my classroom experience because of the modeling perspective, rather than the brute force of solving systems. I think that this gave me the opportunity to have a broader and more realistic understanding of differential equations. The only place I think there needs to be improvement is in more teams participating. The other team’s perspective of modeling either the same problem you did or the one you thought “there is no way we are doing that one!” can bring an enhancement to your modeling capabilities. And more participation just comes with time and more awareness to schools and students about the challenge. This is why I am extremely excited for the future of SCUDEM. Thanks!
11 Mar 2019
Hey Anthony, I also think that the SCUDEM challenge has been a great way for me to learn about my academic abilities and develop new ones. Having been only part of the way through a differential equations course when I competed in the competition, I learned multiple new methods of solving differential equations through both team practice before the competition and the competition itself. I also learned how write in a mathematical context, something I had never really done being a biochemistry major. I really enjoyed being able to translate my knowledge in biology into my team’s model and see the models that other teams came up with. I was also able to learn a lot from the way my team members approached our problem and critically analyzed the model we came up with, and I made some great friends along the way. I am really looking forward to seeing how SCUDEM will grow and encourage everyone to get involved in whatever way they can.
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