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Jessica Fenske
Jessica Fenske2008-2009 Honors Student

Name: Jessica Fenske
Honors in: Mathematics
Hometown: Audubon, PA
Major(s): Mathematics and Financial Economics

Title of project: Explorations into Benford's Law

Abstract or brief description: Benford's law states that the probability distribution for the first significant digit of certain naturally occurring data sets should decay as the value of the digit increases. There have been several measures of how "close" a distribution is to Benford's law. We create a new measure by looking at how many digits can align with Benford's law for a Uniform and Exponential random variable by adjusting the values of their respective parameters. A digit, d, is said to align with Benford's law for a certain distribution if the probability that the first digit of the distribution equals d equals the probability for d under Benford's law. We will examine the maximum number of digits that can align with Benford's law for Uniform and Exponential random variables.

How did you get interested in your topic? It combines my interests for finance with my passion for math.

Do you intend to research your topic further, if so, how? At this point, I do not plan on researching Benford's law furthur not because there aren't more interesting aspects to research further. Further research on Benford's law is just not in my plans for the near future.

How did you benefit academically by conducting research/participating in honors? Participating in Honors benefited me academically by allowing me to do independent research. It also helped me develop my mathematical writing skills.

How has the department (or faculty advisor) in which you studied prepared you for the future? My advisor, Dr. Shank, has helped prepare me for the future by helping me to become more independent. He helped me to determine the course that I wanted my project to go in.

What advice do you have for other students interested in honors? Either set time slots aside to work on Honors or create weekly goals. It is easy for other homework, projects, and activities to get prioritized about Honors because they are due sooner, but Honors needs to get done too