Pursuing Passion: Sarah Rosen ‘23 Leads the Way in New STEM Research

By Karen Flores, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Sarah Rosen has been conducting research for the past two and a half years that enables her to combine her passion for mathematics and physics while simultaneously being an active member of the community. 

A senior mathematics major with a minor in physics and a concentration in theoretical physics, Rosen began her research the summer after her freshman year when she joined the Jasper Summer Research Scholars. The program provided her with background knowledge about the world of research and helped her build the foundation for her current project. 

“The Jasper Summer Research Scholars was a great opportunity to learn more about research as a whole,” Rosen said. “This was around the time when I started getting the background information that I needed for my project. I learned about abstract algebra that I needed to use as well as graph theory. I started working through examples of how to reduce integral equations. Eventually, that culminated in a result on how to reduce a specific type of integral equation.”

She explained that during her time at MC, she has taken classes with Richard Gustavson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the mathematics department, three times. She reached out to him expressing interest in taking part in research, leading to him becoming her research advisor. 

The title of their research is “A Reduction Algorithm for Volterra Integral Equations.” Gustavson explained to The Quadrangle the research he and Rosen have done in regard to integral equations. 

“An integral is finding ways of generalizing sums, so if you want to find an area, you can evaluate an integral.” Gustavson said. “We have an unknown function inside an integral and you want to figure out what that function is. We’ve been working on this problem of taking any equation where you multiply two integrals together, and seeing if we can rewrite it so that you don’t have that product. We want to try to simplify these equations by transforming products of integrals into iterated integrals, which is where you integrate twice.” 

Rosen submitted the research paper to an undergraduate journal, which is still under the peer-review process. She is hopeful that it will be published in the journal. 

  “I’m still waiting on the peer review process, “Rosen said. “Fingers crossed that it will be published within the next six months.”

Rosen has also been involved in multiple campus groups and holds leadership positions in many of them. She is the president of Pi Mu Epsilon, the national mathematics honor society. She is also involved in the Society of Physics Students, the Manhattan College Chess Club and the Jewish Student Union. She is also a supplemental instructor for Math 186 and a performing arts scholar. 

Matthew Jura, Ph.D., assistant professor in the mathematics department, is the faculty advisor for the MC chess club and the moderator for the Pi Mu Epsilon chapter. He says that Rosen has contributed to the continuous growth of both groups on campus. 

Rosen and the Vice President of the honor society, Katherine Cappabianca, have conducted fundraisers and are currently in the planning phase of a STEM outreach event for local high schools and middle schools.

“She’s really taken the reins and has done a lot of activities that the honor society hasn’t done before,” Jura said. “It’s been really impressive in terms of their planning and coordinating with the dean, the department chair and myself. When the founding president of the chess club graduated and left, [Rosen] took over and that has been flourishing as well.” 

Rosen hopes students take advantage of the opportunities MC has to offer and says that she is grateful for all the ones she has taken. 

“Here at Manhattan College, there’s so many opportunities to connect with your peers and connect with your professors. I would just say take every opportunity to connect with the people around you and make those connections that are going to last until after you graduate,” Rosen said. 

Gustavson expressed that Rosen is a great ambassador for the mathematics department and encourages students to reach out to professors and get involved in research work. 

“Sarah is a great ambassador for the mathematics department at Manhattan College in general.” Gustavson said. “I think she really loves where she is and what she’s doing, and I think that’s great that she has such a good feeling about the school and the opportunities it has given her.” 

In a similar sentiment about student and faculty connections, Gustavson also encouraged students to engage with their professors about research interests. 

“If a student is interested in research, they should seek out faculty members who maybe they’ve had for class or they’ve seen in their departments and try to get involved,” he said. “Faculty members are always willing and love doing research with students.”