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Junior to intern at U.S. Department of Homeland Security this summer

RELEASED: March 24, 2010

Mark Bauer
Mark Bauer

EAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire junior will spend 10 weeks this summer doing research for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Mark Bauer, a junior mathematics and business finance major from Spencer, will be a paid intern at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M. He will work with other interns as well as with full-time Homeland Security researchers on a project related to system modeling and analysis.

"As a mathematician, I will collaborate with researchers in the Department of Homeland Security to develop technologies that advance the security of our nation," Bauer said. "I look forward to looking at some of the most current issues in our nation, such as the economic collapse, and being able to mathematically model these complex systems. This is a great opportunity to advance my mathematical reasoning skills, and to also be involved with research that may ultimately benefit our nation."

Bauer is an exceptional student who likes to be challenged, said Dr. Simei Tong, an associate professor of mathematics at UW-Eau Claire who has worked closely with Bauer on multiple research projects.

"This is a very significant accomplishment for one of our students," Tong said of the summer internship. "Typically, students from universities like MIT get these kinds of positions. Mark's accomplishment is remarkable. We are very proud of our student, who works so hard and has big dreams in his life."

Bauer said UW-Eau Claire provides strong academic programs and plenty of opportunities for learning outside the classroom, all of which helped prepare him to compete for such a prestigious internship.

"The course work has given me a solid mathematical background, which is required for this type of internship," Bauer said. "I try to take upper level math courses in areas such as algebra or analysis, which have built up my math skills. I also have been involved with the Math Club and the Actuarial Club on campus. I've been involved with four research projects. The research forces me to investigate new problem-solving approaches and solutions to unsolved problems. It also gives me communication skills along with teamwork skills. I have learned a great amount of mathematics in research that isn't taught in the classrooms."

Tong said she first connected with Bauer when, as a freshman, he gave a presentation at the math department's annual Math Retreat Day.

"I was very impressed by his work and recruited him to the research team," Tong said. "Since then, Mark finished three research projects with me and other student researchers."

Bauer was part of a research team that developed an emergency evacuation plan for Luther Hospital in Eau Claire, an evacuation plan for a major hospital that does not want to be identified, and a plan for the emergency evacuation of Eau Claire County.

"Through these projects, Mark gained much experience with creating math modeling and using computer software to solve problems, as well doing some analysis with the results," Tong said, adding that Bauer and other students received travel grants to present research results at national mathematics meetings the last three years. "Those skills will serve him well in his internship this summer."

When he graduates in May 2011, Bauer hopes to go to graduate school in the area of financial mathematics. Eventually he wants to either teach at the university level or work in the financial industry.

For more information, contact Mark Bauer at bauermp@uwec.edu or 715-207-1172.

-30-

JB/DW

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