Mathematical Sciences Faculty and Student Researchers Receive Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics Grant

The Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics (CURM) provides funding for undergraduate research groups throughout the United States. A mini-grant for the 2019-20 academic year has been awarded to Dr. Quinn Morris, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Appalachian State University totaling over $15,000 in funding. The CURM mini-grant provides funds for research with undergraduates and includes the following :

  • $5,000 faculty stipend
  • $3,000 student stipends for each student in a research group
  • $250 for supplies
  • up to $850 for the faculty member and up to $200 for each undergraduate student to assist with travel costs associated with attending a faculty summer workshop and a local regional conference in the spring held by CURM

These undergraduate research groups develop student enthusiasm for the mathematical and computational sciences, provide mentorship to support students through graduation and develop essential research skills to prepare them for success in graduate school and their careers.

"A decade ago, my passion for mathematics grew out of the opportunity to work on an undergraduate research project. With this grant, I'm excited to bring those same opportunities to my students here at Appalachian," Dr. Quinn Morris stated.

After a visiting assistant professorship at Swarthmore College, Morris joined the faculty of Appalachian State University in 2018. His research interests lie in the area of qualitative behavior of solutions to nonlinear ordinary and partial differential equations, in particular equations which model biological and ecological systems. With this grant, he and three students will work on an important problem in mathematical ecology, seeking to understand the effects of habitat fragmentation on certain species via mathematical modeling.

The basic components of CURM include training professors as mentors for undergraduate students doing research; advising professors on how to maintain undergraduate research groups at their institutions; fostering connections to the broader mathematical community through cross-institution partnerships, regional networks and community engagement requirements; as well as preparing undergraduate students to succeed in graduate studies and careers in the mathematical sciences.

These awards are typically applied for and awarded in pairs to faculty at institutions, ideally of different subjects, who agree to coordinate activities between the two research groups. Morris and his students are working with Dr. Catherine Payne from the Department of Mathematics at Winston-Salem State University and two of her undergraduate students.

"I'm excited to work with our students at Appalachian and our partners at Winston-Salem State University. This project addresses important ecological questions for fragile ecosystems in Western North Carolina and this grant will provide our students with a one-of-a-kind research experience," said Morris.

For more information about CURM, please visit


About the Department of Mathematical Sciences
The Department of Mathematical Sciences offers undergraduate degrees in actuarial science and mathematics, with concentrations in business, computation, life sciences, physical sciences, secondary teaching and statistics, plus a general, self-designed concentration. The department also offers the Master of Arts in mathematics, with concentrations in college teaching and secondary teaching. Learn more at

By Ellen Gwin Burnette and Andrew Scott
March 12, 2019

Quinn Morris headshot
Published: Mar 12, 2019 11:51am