Two students selected for Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program

Headshots of Chirayu Salgarkar and Zach Medlin
From left: Chirayu Salgarkar and Zach Medlin

MACON — Mercer University students Chirayu Salgarkar and Zach Medlin were recently accepted to Budapest Semesters in Mathematics, a program in which they will each spend a semester abroad learning mathematics at the College International, a Hungarian-based educational institution. 

This highly selective program is devoted to problem solving and encouraging student creativity by giving students the opportunity to earn transferable college credits, participate in engaging small classes, and be surrounded by a community of mathematically motivated students and professors.

headshot of chirayu salgarkar
Chirayu Salgarkar

Salgarkar, a junior Stamps Scholar from Lawrenceville, is a biomedical engineering and mathematics double-major. Upon graduation from Mercer, he aims to attend graduate school for either applied mathematics, controls or biomedical engineering. 

He will participate in the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program during the summer semester. 

“I think the coursework will be a great primer for learning about advanced mathematics,” he said. “Hungary has a well-known culture in mathematics, and I am excited to experience it for myself.” 

At Mercer, Salgarkar competes on the debate team and conducts research in Dr. Makhin Thitsa’s Cyber-physical Systems and Control laboratory, which focuses on non-linear systems and control.  

“Formally, I am pretty interested in control theory, or the use of feedback to influence system behavior to achieve some desired characteristic. Dr. Thitsa’s lab studies this field specifically,” he said. “More generally, I’m interested in the use of mathematics to better streamline processes that are increasingly complex, like autonomous systems. I am also interested in mathematics education, especially regarding how low-income and minority students tend to have less access to classes or resources to build a solid foundation in mathematics, and what peers, teachers and institutions can do to reduce that systemic barrier.”

headshot of zach medlin
Zach Medlin

Medlin, a sophomore Stamps Scholar from Olive Branch, Mississippi, who uses the pronoun they, is a mathematics major with plans to pursue a Ph.D. after graduation. They are interested in applying for the Churchill Scholarship to study math at Cambridge University as part of the Tripos program, which is one of the most prestigious math programs in the world. They’re also looking at schools in United States and Francophone world. 

Medlin will participate in the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program during the fall semester. 

“The Budapest schools are renowned for their programs in combinatorial mathematics, and I am really excited to dig into that while I’m there,” Medlin said. “My primary interests are in different mathematical fields, but I think I will benefit a lot from broadening my perspective. Also, I have heard that Budapest is a beautiful city, and I am so excited to have a whole semester to explore it.” 

Medlin has conducted research in control theory with Dr. Thitsa, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. Additionally, they are a math tutor at the Academic Resource Center, a student in the Mercer Service Scholars program and a member of Common Ground. 

They were recently inducted into Iota Iota Iota, a women’s and gender studies honor society, and have been included on the President’s List for the past two semesters. 

“I am most interested in algebraic and differential topology, which study properties of geometric objects using invariants like the number and type of holes in a space and the curvature of an object,” Medlin said. “Outside of pure mathematics, I’m also really passionate about math education, and I’m interested in finding ways to make math more accessible to more people.” 

About Mercer University 

Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. With approximately 9,000 students enrolled in 12 schools and colleges, on major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; medical school sites in Macon, Savannah and Columbus; and at regional academic centers in Henry and Douglas counties, Mercer is ranked among the top tier of national research universities by U.S. News & World Report. The Mercer Health Sciences Center includes the University’s School of Medicine and Colleges of Nursing, Health Professions and Pharmacy. Mercer is affiliated with five teaching hospitals – Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center and Piedmont Macon Medical Center in Macon; Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah; and Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital and St. Francis-Emory Healthcare in Columbus. The University also has an educational partnership with Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins. It operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer Medicine, the clinical faculty practice of the School of Medicine, is based in Macon and operates additional clinics in Sumter, Peach, Clay, Putnam and Harris counties. Mercer is one of only 293 institutions nationwide to shelter a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society; one of eight institutions to hold membership in the Georgia Research Alliance; and the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit