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Four Outstanding Seniors become Next Generation Scholars

UC Santa Cruz seniors Bryan Garcia, Caelum Rodriguez, Florencia Gregorio and Brett Sargent have been named this year’s Next Generation Scholars in Applied Mathematics (Next Gen SAM).
UC Santa Cruz seniors Bryan Garcia, Caelum Rodriguez, Florencia Gregorio and Brett Sargent have been named this year’s Next Generation Scholars in Applied Mathematics (Next Gen SAM).
Monday, February 10, 2020
James McGirk

UC Santa Cruz seniors Bryan Garcia, Caelum Rodriguez, Florencia Gregorio and Brett Sargent have been named this year’s Next Generation Scholars in Applied Mathematics (Next Gen SAM). They will each receive substantial scholarships, mentoring, and career development advice.

"I am truly delighted to welcome the first cohort of scholars" Pascale Garaud, Professor in Applied Mathematics, said. "This first year is a pilot phase of the program, during which its most important elements will be developed. Many UCSC staff and faculty are involved.”

Garaud is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the National Science Foundation S-STEM award that is funding the Next Gen SAM program. She directs the program.

The four students were selected from UC Santa Cruz’s 4+1 program in Scientific Computing and Applied Mathematics (SciCAM), a program offering students working toward an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics or Physics a chance to take introductory courses in SciCAM, preparing them to receive a Masters degree in SciCAM the year after they matriculate.

Bryan Garcia hails from the Coachella Valley. “My intent is to use this program to catapult me into a Ph.D program in Applied Math or maybe to enter industry,” he said.

His fellow scholar Caleum Rodriguez is interested in fluids, which he describes as a field that “is very ‘applied-mathematics’ and computationally-heavy.” He hopes to transfer that interest into “an aerospace-flight, Boeing, NASA kind of career.”

Caleum Rodriguez grew up in Oakland. He says that like Garcia he’s also interested in doing a Ph.D. “The grad students we spoke to put it well. They weren’t expecting to do Ph.Ds but it can happen if it lines up with your research interests.”

Florencia Gregorio grew up in Salinas, California.“I want to go into industry,” she said. “Especially doing something on the lines of becoming an operations research analyst. It’s a profession that involves problem solving, and requires math skills and critical thinking and I love that.”

Brett Sargent, from the East Bay, is curious about stochastic modeling.

“I would like to work with machine learning and stochastic modeling,” he said. “It seems like a new technology and it would be interesting to work on the forefront of something that has just been developed.”

Students apply for the Next Gen SAM program during the spring of their junior year and join the program in the fall quarter of their senior year. The program “aims to prepare each scholar for their preferred career in academia, industry, or federal research institutions.”

The four students will receive scholarships totaling up to $10,000 in both their senior year and their MS year, as well as professional counseling, career placement advice and mentoring from EOP and MESA/MEP counsellors, and Applied Mathematics faculty, current graduate students, and alumni. They will also receive travel support to attend scientific conferences or career development fairs.

The other faculty and staff involved with the project are: grant co-PIs Rebecca Covarrubias (Associate Professor in Psychology and Faculty Director of the Student Success Equity Research Center), Carmen Robinson (BSOE Director of Undergraduate Affairs) and Pablo Reguerin (EOP director and Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Achievement & Equity Innovation).

The counseling team consists of Jennifer Woods (MEP academic counsellor), who is providing career development mentoring and other logistic support, peer mentor Martin Rodriguez (Ph.D student in Applied Mathematics), and Applied Mathematics faculty mentors Profs Nicholas Brummell, Marcella Gomez, Abhishek Halder and Dongwook Lee, who will advise the students on academic topics.

The program will also be the subject of research by Prof. Covarrubias and her group on the mindful use of anti-deficit mentoring and student outreach practices. Finally, the program will be regularly evaluated and reviewed by Dr. Jenny Quynn (Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning) and all Co-PIs, to improve its various elements over the next five years.

For more information, please visit: http://sam.soe.ucsc.edu