Problem Solving Story

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I got an A on the exam and from then on I knew my story was not over. I noticed that they had a job listed for a TA, which involved correcting written math solutions to difficult problems.

To get hired, you had to pick one of the problems they gave you and write an official math solution.

I ended up getting a B in calculus, and it was an awful feeling.

I thought to myself, I started to wonder what it meant to be good at math.

I proved the formula and gave it to my MAT 300 professor, and he invited me to present it at an undergraduate research conference. The last thing a math professor told me was that Bill Gates never gave up doing what he loved, and that I shouldn’t give up mathematics because maybe my path was meant to be different.

I ended up leaving the university, but I didn’t give up. I started learning all these beautiful things I had never learned before, like matrices, absolute value, and the rational roots theorem.My older sibling was doing crystal meth in the apartment while my mom was at work. I ended up living in a government program for at-risk youth from ages 16–19, where I mostly taught myself.She stole my money that I saved up for an orchestra trip for drugs. In the summer of 2007, I took a precalculus class at ASU, and I was completely lost. I’m so thankful for the chance to speak to all of you.I’ve gone through so much in my life, and all of it has affected my character and self-esteem in different ways. As a teenager, I was subjected to violence and drug use.My major was life sciences, and I had to pass this class in order to get my degree.There were a bunch of mathematical objects on the board, like functions, and e^x, and logarithms and I was completely lost. He not only taught the material, but he taught about what it takes to be good at math.I began climbing and climbing and climbing through the most difficult math problems.The website trains kids for top tier colleges and elite math competitions, and I’ve been able to put myself through the program.It was clear that the way I understood math was different.I was drawn to the proofs that were in the textbook but at the same time, I lacked the experience to do clever algebraic manipulations.


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