By Andy Ross

Killeen Daily Herald

Texas A&M University-Central Texas is striving to create professional research opportunities for its students.

During a recent research symposium for all campuses within the Texas A&M University system, TAMU-CT claimed two awards and showed off a new iPhone application developed entirely by students.

School leaders say fostering student research - especially opportunities to present that research through symposiums and conferences - will be a major priority in the future.

"They (students) are learning about having their own voice and doing research and having opinions," said Tracy Teaff, TAMU-CT's interim provost of academic and student affairs. "It's all about professional discourse and disagreeing with others appropriately and learning what it really means to be a scholar."

Following Texas A&M's eighth annual Pathways Student Research Symposium last month, TAMU-CT held its own research showcase on Nov. 9 and displayed some of the more popular projects that were developed.

The iPhone application appeared to be at the top of the list, Teaff said. The project was undertaken by two graduate mathematics students under the instruction of Professor Mienie de Kock.

Designed specifically for TAMU-CT, the application offers students numerous streamlined services such as grade checking and class registration. De Kock said the idea came about after her students were able to successfully write code for a more rudimentary iPhone application this summer.

She said the TAMU-CT application will be fine-tuned in the coming semester and hopefully serve as a launching point into more classes focused on writing Xcode, a specific set of tools used for developing Apple software.

"Because it is so current, there is not a lot of literature and classes on this already," de Kock said. "If you look, you can find classes, but they assume one has a lot of background in coding. I'm really trying to bridge that gap so even those who may not know a lot about coding will be able to come in and write applications in Xcode."

But the iPhone application wasn't the only mathematics-based project TAMU-CT students were recognized for this year. Kara Klinke, an undergraduate student, won second place in math for designing statistical software that predicts the effectiveness of teacher grading schemes.

Danny Salinas took third at the symposium for his statistical estimation software on future car repair costs. Other notable research outside the realm of math included a historic analysis on the role of corporations in the Holocaust and a comparison of Thomas Jefferson's character by today's standards.

"Personally, I was very proud of the students and facult,y and look forward to another showcase in the future," Teaff said.

Contact Andy Ross at or (254) 501-7468.

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