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Mathematics Major Receives Goldwater Scholarship

May 22, 2013

Andrew Zigerelli

Mathematics and computer science major Andrew Zigerelli was one of four Drexel students to take home the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship this year. Established by Congress in 1986, the scholarship is awarded to the country’s top undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Q: What made you want to become a math major?
A: When I came to college, I just picked my favorite subject. I was always more interested in the ideas and problems in math than other subjects. 

Q: Who or what inspired you to apply for the Goldwater Scholarship?
A: I've received emails every year since I was a freshman from the Drexel Fellowships Office encouraging me to apply for scholarships, especially this one. I applied the first year I was eligible. 

Q: What research had you done previously that helped you secure the award?
A: I worked with Dr. Thomas Yu and his graduate student Jingmin Chen in the math department. His work involves something called subdivision surfaces, which are traditionally used in computer-aided geometric design, so something like Pixar. However, our project used these surfaces to help explore a model in physics explaining the membrane shape of our body’s cells.

Q: Are there any Drexel professors you look up to as mentors? If so, who and why?
A: The math department as a whole has been very helpful. Most professors that I have had were very accessible, and the graduate students are always there to help as well. Specifically, Dr. Yu is very willing to discuss and explain different concepts, even if the topic has nothing to do with our project. He also offers solid academic advice.

Q: What was the Goldwater application process like?
A: The application process was pretty long. Every university has a limit of four applicants, so there was an internal application process so that Drexel could select their own applicants. The largest part of the actual application involved multiple essays. The Fellowships Office set up a committee of professors from different departments on campus to assist us. The committee was extremely helpful; the Fellowships Office definitely knows what they are doing. 

Q: What have some of your favorite Drexel courses been thus far (mathematics or otherwise)?
A: I enjoyed most of my math and computer science courses. I think I still need to learn a lot more before I can consider a favorite.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: I want to attend graduate school after Drexel.  I'm still narrowing down my interests, so I’m not sure where I want to go just yet.