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Math Alumnus presents original research
Recent graduate Phanuel Mariano ’12 was an impressive presenter of original research during the 2013 Joint Mathematic Meeting in San Diego, California.

Mariano graduated from Western last May, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and minor in Finance. “My love for math came about in high school. Many people don’t realize that the field of math is much more than simply numbers,” said Mariano. “I really like that there are many real world applications and fields that math extends to.”

 During his four years at Western, Mariano was a part of the Honors Program, a brother in the Sigma Chi fraternity and frequently took part in Math Department activities. Most significant was his participation in the 2011 and 2012 Western Research Days.

 During both events, Mariano worked to present original findings to the Western community with several other math majors. “Our research from 2011 came from a separate math competition with students across the globe. We were given a problem focusing on radio frequencies on Thursday and had to submit a solution on Monday,” Mariano explained. “We placed in the top 40th percentile, which was a big deal.” Receiving honorable mention in the competition, the student group submitted their work to Western Research Day.   

The following year, Mariano and his group worked to create software that dealt with figure print recognition and picture viewing on computers. In both years, the groups were highly successful in their research presentations and won the Provost’s Prize.

This January, Mariano took his group research experience and individually presented at the 2013 Joint Mathematic Meeting­­­­ ˗ the largest mathematics convention in the world. The meeting opened its doors to over 7,000 mathematicians and featured lectures on every topic within the field.  

Having attended the conference two times prior, this was the first year Mariano would give a verbal presentation before an audience of esteemed math scholars and students.  “Before this, I had only participated in undergraduate poster sessions and competition,” said Mariano. “It was great to experience the research and presentation processes that professional mathematicians go through.”

 The recognition and praise Phanuel Mariano received in California continued upon his return to Connecticut and Western. His success highlights the incredible curriculum and resources offered by the Math Department on campus. “We have a very tight knit community and such incredible professors who really care about helping students beyond the classroom,” said Mariano. “Without their help and the help of organizations like SGA and the Provost’s Office, I would have never been able to have so many opportunities, including this recent one in San Diego.”

Currently, Mariano is teaching at Columbus Elementary School in Bridgeport. He also plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Mathematics within the year. Mariano concluded by stating, “Math is a lot like life. You don’t always get the right answer on the first try, but if you keep trying and pushing forward, you will eventually get where you need to be.” 

To support programs like the Western Research Day and student travel to conferences, please give online or contact Jane von Trapp for more information.

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