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Edward, who’s the first in his family to go to college, always had an interest in math, but thought a math major could only become a math teacher.

That’s where MESA came in.

Edward attended a summer calculus refresher course before his freshman year through MESA at San Diego State University. During his freshman year he took MESA study skills and career building classes that helped him plan a career in math. It solidified his interest in math. He earned a bachelor’s in mathematics with an emphasis in computational science from San Diego State.

As an undergrad he became a MESA tutor and mentor, and continues to help disadvantaged students in his community.

His community service was a key contributor to being named a 2014 Great Minds in STEM HENAAC awardee for Most Promising Engineer or Scientist Advanced Degree PhD.

Edward completed a PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Arizona in 2013. Now he’s a senior research and development scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. He works primarily on algorithm development and high performance computing.

After having been a student for over a decade, Edward looks back to his early college years as a key to his success.

“MESA taught me how to study, how to collaborate, how to better communicate,” he said. “MESA taught me how to be a college student.”