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Cesar Esteban Bernal – April 2014 Scholar of the Month

2013 CHCI-ExxonMobil Scholar

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona

Degree: B.S., Mathematics

School: Brown University

Having learned Spanish first, I have never been the best English student. But the one language I have always excelled at is Mathematics. Ever since I can remember learning to count, numbers have always been of interest to me. The manner in which you can manipulate equations and formulas to solve real-world problems, sparks curiosity within me and encourages me to delve deep into the subject. I have always aspired to discover everything there is to numbers and their use in society and our mysterious universe.

As many people have said, “Math is the same in every language.” Fortunately, this was true while I was growing up. I struggled throughout elementary school trying to grasp the English language, while the other kids could easily communicate with one another. I soon realized that the only method my classmates understood me was through numbers. In fact, I wasn’t simply showing them this dialect, but rather teaching them a concept that came naturally to me. At that moment, not only did I develop my interest in math, but my love towards teaching as well.

Without my struggles as an insecure adolescent, I would not have grown into the optimistic individual I am today. Because of this, I now strive towards fulfilling my potential. Becoming a mathematics teacher would give me the opportunity to share what I have learned directly with others. I plan to take the subject of mathematics and make it worldwide knowledge through my teaching. Furthermore, my purpose in pursuing a career in mathematics is to be able to teach others the values that math offers, especially in the Latino communities. There are almost no Latinos in the field of mathematics; I plan to change that. My goal is to establish an educational institution that emphasizes more on the advanced sciences so that Latino students would be given the chance to pursue a career they otherwise would have never considered. Through these opportunities, my Latino culture can possibly surpass its ethnic stereotype and, just like myself, seek higher education to do well. Knowing that I could make a difference, however small it may be, is my ultimate motivation. In order to achieve this goal, I plan to realize my educational aspirations and receive my doctorate degree in Mathematics at a prestigious university. It is my determination to make an impact in society and history that drives me. I am certain that with these ambitions in mind, whatever journey I take to get there will be rewarding.

Without the influence of mathematics, the world would not have progressed to where it stands today, but without the continuous support of my family and heritage, I would not be where I am now. It is because of their commitment for me to thrive that I am prepared to acquire the knowledge necessary for me to pass on to tomorrow’s generations as a future educator. Being a motivated individual, I live as Tennyson’s Ulysses once said, “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”