A Future in Numbers
As a boy, numbers, and his skill with them, helped boost Antonio Lopez's self-esteem and generate positive attention from teachers. And numbers gave him a future—a much brighter one than he originally anticipated.
"My goal was to get my bachelor's and start working," the former architecture major says. "I thought there was going to be a lot of mathematics (in architecture), but decided it wasn't for me. I decided to get a math degree."
Lopez received his bachelor's degree—he's the first in his family to do so—with honors in August 2009. He's now on the road to being the first to earn a graduate degree.
"Once I got to know my professors, I knew I could do more," he says. "I stayed at UT Arlington because of the faculty and staff. I knew I would get the support I needed."
Lopez cites Professor Tuncay Aktosun and Associate Professor Minerva Cordero as being particularly influential. Support on the graduate level includes more mentoring by professors as well as financial assistance. His Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need fellowship includes a stipend for living expenses, and he is paid for his graduate assistant job in the calculus lab.
"When I worked with Dr. Aktosun on solitary waves, the main focus was to find solutions using a lot of mathematics," he says. "I am more interested in applied mathematics like this, something that actually applies to the real world."