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Catawba College Student Participates in Mathematics Research Experience

November 23, 2021

Category: Academics, Mathematics

Catawba College senior Jackson Chapin participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) through the Mathematical Biosciences Institute (MBI) with The Ohio State University over the summer 2021.

According to Dr. Sharon Sullivan, Associate Provost for Assessment and Accreditation, “REU programs in the mathematical sciences are very competitive and draw from a national pool of applicants. Having Jackson participate in this REU demonstrates the strength of opportunities available to Catawba students both in and out of the classroom. Jackson was able to merge his classroom learning with real-life statistical research in modeling infectious diseases – an area he plans to pursue in graduate school.”

Chapin’s project was titled Modeling the Effects of Human Behavior on Epidemics and the COVID-19 Pandemic. He collaborated with mentors from OSU, Dr. Matthew Wascher and Olivia Cleymaet, Ph.D. candidate in statistics, as well as Benjamin Khlar from Haverford College. They examined ideas of mask mandates, masking fatigue, and the influence of neighbors to try and find behavior that produced a bimodal curve in infections, like a change point model created with Ohio COVID-19 infection data to help explain why a bimodal curve exists.

A cumulative capstone presentation was given for other members of the REU as well as outside community members.

“This experience was my first true introduction to the field of biostatistics,” said Chapin. “It allowed me to apply what I learned in a classroom to the field and reinforced the idea of combining my interests with other possibilities to different applications in biostatistics.”

Chapin is double majoring in Mathematics and Mathematical Finance with a double minor in Computer Science and Data Science where is also a Head Residence Assistant. He is from Mooresville, North Carolina.

He is applying to biostatistics doctoral programs with the goal of doing research in survival, longitudinal data analysis and statistical methods and modeling of infectious diseases, specifically HIV/AIDS research.

About Catawba College
Founded in 1851, Catawba College is a four-year, private, liberal arts college conveniently located in Salisbury, N.C. Ranked as one of the best regional colleges in the South, Catawba is a learning community providing students unique opportunities to discover their vocation, calling, passions, and purpose as they prepare to reach their highest potential. The College offers more than 70 undergraduate and three graduate programs allowing students to explore diverse interests and create their own academic pathway. Additional information is available at

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