Interdisciplinary approaches to research in ACMS lab

Author: Caroline Crawford

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Matthew Baumstark
Matthew Baumstark

Assistant Professor Giuseppe Vinci in the Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics likes to make sure students take interdisciplinary approaches with their research.

Lauren Beede, a junior double majoring in applied and computational mathematics and statistics (ACMS) and psychology, and Matthew Baumstark, a senior double majoring in ACMS and economics, are working on two such research projects with him.

Beede’s project, "Functional neuronal connectivity graph estimation," uses coding and data science techniques to understand and graphically model the brain’s neural networks.

“I am interested in understanding how neurons are connected in the brain and how that affects cognition,” Beede said. “I chose to do this lab because it integrates my two majors really well.”

Baumstark similarly chose a research project that combined two of his interests. He is working with Vinci on a project titled, “Automated galaxy morphology classification from telescope images.” His research uses data science to create a statistical model able to classify galaxies.

“This research project is the marriage of two things I am really interested in: astronomy and data science,” Baumstark said.

Lauren Beede
Lauren Beede

Beede and Baumstark have greatly enjoyed conducting their research projects with Vinci.

“[Vinci] has been a really awesome mentor and advisor,” Baumstark said. “This is my first foray into the academic research experience, so having him to kind of guide where to study next or what I was looking at was really helpful.”

Beede expressed similar sentiments and appreciates Vinci’s commitment to supporting his students with both their current and future endeavors.

“Professor Vinci helps me not only with research but also with thinking about Ph.D.s and future trajectories,” Beede said. 

Following graduation, Beede and Baumstark plan to pursue careers related to their research experiences. Beede currently plans to pursue a doctorate degree in computational neuroscience, and Baumstark expects to work in the data science field. The students believe their research and courses have prepared them for success in their chosen fields. 

“Through the ACMS courses that I've taken, I have developed an interest and ability in data science and data analytics,” Baumstark said. 

Beede encourages students interested in mathematics to consider majoring in ACMS because of the interesting classes, supportive professors, and tight-knit community.

“ACMS may seem difficult at first; however, it’s really worth it, and you meet so many great people in the ACMS community,” she said.

Beede and Baumstark reflected fondly on their time spent at the University of Notre Dame.

“Notre Dame is a really amazing institution where I have been able to grow so much and learn so much about myself and about the world and to really challenge the way that I think about things,” Baumstark said.

Originally published by Caroline Crawford at on May 01, 2023.