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Michael Kupperman – Honors College Class of 2020

Michael Kupperman has immersed himself in the academic and research opportunities that Oregon State University and the Honors College have to offer. From taking a challenging STEM course load to writing a high-quality thesis, Michael has worked diligently to get the most out of his undergraduate experience. 

Originally from Hillsboro, Oregon, Michael chose Oregon State because he believed it was the best choice for both his finances and his academic goals. He came into his freshman year as a biochemistry and biophysics major and added a math major in the first week of fall term. In his second year, Michael changed his course of study and transferred into the then-new major in biochemistry and molecular biology.

“You literally get to watch life happen,” Michael says of his love for biochemistry. Math has always been a strong suit and passion of Michael’s, making it a natural choice for a second major. 

During his time at Oregon State, Michael really enjoyed being a part of the Honors College community: “A lot of people in the Honors College think enough like me to the point where we can have in-depth conversations but different enough to the point where everyone’s viewpoint is very unique,” he says.

Michael completed his thesis with mentor David Koslicki; David has since started a new job at Pennsylvania State University. Michael’s project focused on developing new mathematics to better enable and describe regime change events in ecological systems.

Michael explains: “Broadly, you can partition the mathematical models used to describe ecological systems into deterministic models and stochastic (has randomness) models. My work developed a new ‘hybrid method’ that incorporated enough stochasticity to obtain and compute exactly the probability of these regime change events occurring, while preserving the deterministic mechanisms in the model.”

Now an honors alum, Michael will go on to earn his PhD in applied mathematics at the University of Washington. 

To those considering Oregon State and the Honors College, Michael highly recommends going for it: “Oregon State is one of the few places where there is an explicit, directed emphasis on undergrads doing research, and professors here are very welcoming to including undergraduate students in their research.” 

“Plus, Corvallis is a beautiful place to live.”

Interested in checking out Michael’s thesis project? Find it here

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