Text Size Default Text SizeDefault Text Size Large Text SizeLarge Text Size Largest Text SizeLargest Text Size Print Print this Page

2010 News Releases

Longwood junior chosen for math study program in Hungary

September 24, 2010

Crystal Peoples Crystal Peoples

Longwood University junior Crystal Peoples has received her third national honor in the last six months.

Peoples, a mathematics major, is one of about 70 undergraduates from the United States and Canada to be selected from among about 300 applicants for the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (BSM) program. Peoples will study from Feb. 7 through May 27 under the tutelage of eminent Hungarian scholar-teachers. Participants, juniors and seniors majoring in mathematics or computer science, typically take three or four math courses and one or two non-math courses, for which they receive transferable academic credit.

In other distinctions, Peoples was one of 18 undergraduates from around the country chosen to participate this past summer in the Carleton College Summer Mathematics Program for Women in Northfield, Minn. She was one of 83 undergraduates who in April received a 2010 GEICO Achievement Award, a $1,000 award for "exceptional" students.

Peoples, who has a 4.0 grade-point average and is a member of the Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars, learned of the BSM program while at the summer program at Carleton College.

Dr. Paul Humke, the BSM program's North American director, visited Carleton College one day to tell participants about the study opportunity in Hungary. She learned she'd been accepted through an email Sept. 17 from Humke, professor of mathematics at St. Olaf College in Minnesota.

The BSM program, which began in 1985, is described as "one of the most prestigious and essential study-abroad programs for undergraduate students of mathematics." Offered in both the fall and the spring, the program features 14 weeks of teaching plus one week of exams, with a  one-week midterm break in each semester. All courses are taught in English, and classes, which are small, are held on the College International campus of the Technical University Budapest, which the program's web site describes as "near the historic city center." She will arrive Jan. 18 in Budapest to take an optional Hungarian language course that runs from Jan. 19 through Feb. 4.

"To be accepted into the program, you have to have taken either advanced calculus or abstract algebra," said Peoples, who is from Chesapeake and is minoring in sociology. "Since I'm taking advanced calculus this semester, I will have taken both courses. The math courses I want to take in the program, if they're offered, are advanced abstract algebra and commutative algebra - my focus area is algebra - and differential geometry. One of the non-math courses I want to take is Film Analysis."

In the program, says the BSM web site, "Considerable time is devoted to problem solving and encouraging student creativity. Emphasis is on depth of understanding rather than on the quantity of material...Concepts, methods, ideas and paradoxes that have startled or puzzled mathematicians for centuries will be reinvented and examined under the guidance of enthusiastic and experienced instructors."

Peoples will live with other students in an apartment "close enough to campus to bike or take a bus," she said.

In the Carleton College Summer Mathematics Program for Women, held from June 20 to July 18, Peoples took a seminar in Topology and Knot theory and another seminar in Lie theory. That program, which encourages talented young women to pursue advanced degrees in math, is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Peoples, 19, is president of both Pi Mu Epsilon math honor society and the Math Club, treasurer of the Cook-Cole College of Arts and Sciences Student Advisory Board, and the current recipient of the Katherine Maugans Honors Scholarship. She plans to earn a doctorate and teach on the university level. She is a graduate of Deep Creek High School and is the daughter of Art and Debbie Peoples.

Not surprisingly, Peoples this semester is taking a challenging academic load: seven courses for 19 credit hours. Whenever she is asked how long she's been interested in math, she smiles and replies "forever."