Friday, April 1, 2022

By News and Internal Communications

By Maria Gonzalez

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – Two professors in the UTRGV School of Mathematics and Statistical Sciences have been awarded a $324,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund a program on Applied Mathematics and Computational and Data Science designed to help students grow as mathematicians. 

Associate Professor Erwin Suazo, principal investigator, and co-PI Dr. Tamer Oraby, undergraduate program coordinator for Statistics and associate SMSS professor, are leading the project.

“REU Site: The UTRGV REU Program on Applied Mathematics and Computational and Data Science” is the first NSF REU program for the SMSS at UTRGV and is designed to provide students with valuable educational and research skills and experiences that better prepare them for graduate programs and careers in STEM. 

Suazo said the REU program will allow UTRGV to host undergraduate students from across the United States to conduct collaborative research programs each summer from 2022 to 2025. 

“During the program, the students will work under the guidance of faculty mentors from the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences,” he said. “It will provide undergraduate students with vigorous, motivating and, above all, quality collaborative research experience in the areas of stochastic and deterministic partial differential equations and numerical analysis with an emphasis on the computational aspects. 

“Additionally, students will be able to develop and apply deep spatial learning algorithms to spatial processes resulting from partial differential equations,” he said.

Oraby said that each year, the NSF REU will recruit and support eight undergraduate students nationally, with several chosen from the Rio Grande Valley.

“Great efforts will be made so that most of the students are from underrepresented minorities in STEM, including Hispanics and women,” he said. 

Students will work collaboratively in groups on research projects in applied mathematics, mathematical modeling, and computational and data science. 

“They also will participate in professional training and technical preparation to represent the university in conferences,” Oraby said, “and they will write research papers. 

“The program will be a great opportunity for our students to network with their peers nationwide,” he said. 

The first round of REU projects will run from June 13 to Aug. 12, 2022. 

The review of applications is underway and will continue through April 15, 2022. 



  • Wave phenomena and mathematical modeling

Students will study and analyze novel and engaging topics such as the dynamics of scattering waves and the propagation of nonlinear waves in non-uniform media. Mentors are Dr. Erwin Suazo and Dr. Josef Sifuentes.

  • Mathematical modeling of spatial processes and deep spatial learning

Students will work on simulating spatial processes such as the spread of diseases or emission of pollution, which are modeled using partial differential equations with space-time white or color noise. Mentors are Dr. Tamer Oraby and Dr. Hansapani Rodrigo.

In addition to a heightened collaborative research experience, each student participant in the REU program will receive a stipend of $5,400, free on-campus housing, a $900 meal allowance and $1,000 for travel expenses incurred in round-trip travel to the REU or to present the research work at a conference. 



  • All currently enrolled undergraduate students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to apply to the UTRGV REU Program. 
  • Applicants must be full-time students in Fall 2022, pursuing a major in the mathematical or statistical sciences. 
  • Applicants from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. 

To complete the application, visit the UTRGV REU website. 

If you have specific questions, contact Suazo at 


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.