Steven Olsen

Brief biography

My name is Steven Olsen and I am a junior mathematics major at LSU. My passion for math led me to pursue a degree in mathematics. While studying at LSU, I have engaged in undergraduate research and challenging upper-level coursework, which have helped me to develop problem-solving techniques and critical-thinking skills. Ultimately, I plan to apply the mathematical knowledge I have gained at LSU to pursue an MD, specializing in neuroscience.

Mathematical and Educational Activities

My research this year has been in control theory with Dr. Michael Malisoff at LSU. Specifically, in the area of curve-tracking, I studied Dr. Malisoff's theory of "robustly forwardly invariant hexagons" (hexagonal regions in which trajectories of a system will stay after a given time) and their use in a fixed-point curve-tracking scenario. I then attempted to generalize this model to a scenario in which the point being tracked is itself moving. I presented my findings as a poster at the 2014 LSU Undergraduate Research Conference in October.

While research is important to me, I focus my efforts primarily on mathematics outreach. In 2012, I organized the first team ever to compete in the Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament, one of the top math competitions in the country for high school students. Since then, our HMMT team has competed annually with impressive results; most recently, we competed in the 2014 HMMT November Tournament, where our students placed 36th out of 135 teams. As organizer and sponsor, I plan weekly training sessions for our members and coordinate the logistics of tournament transportation, housing, and registration. We continue to hold practices every Sunday in preparation for our next tournament, the American Regional Mathematics League (ARML) Competition.

In addition to heading the HMMT team, I am also the coordinator of the 2015 LSU Math Circle, a summer program for local high-schoolers designed to introduce them to advanced concepts in mathematics not normally taught in a high school setting. As coordinator, I am in charge of all planning, logistics, and execution for the program, including: creating a website, designing a lesson plan, advertising to students, hiring and training teachers, planning field trips, and ensuring the success of the program. The LSU Math Circle will be held for three weeks in June 2015.