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Meet Paul Reine Kennett Dela Rosa

Drexel University Math Student Stephen Costa

Degree: PhD Candidate ( 4th year student)
Research Interests: Eigenvalues of a submatrix; numerical ranges and its properties; isometries associated with a scalar product
Awards: Research Excellence Award 2018 (Pre-Candidacy)
Extracurricular Activities: cooking, drawing, learning languages, playing boardgames and running

What sparked your interest in your research?

I don’t know why, but there’s something about matrices that I find fascinating. Hence, I wanted my thesis problem to be in the area of Matrix Analysis. Professor Hugo J. Woerdeman of the math department likes Matrix Analysis too, being an expert on it (among the many areas in which he’s an expert). Because of this, it was only natural that I asked him to direct my thesis. He agreed, and once I was ready to work on my thesis, he showed me a picture of an interesting behavior of Ritz values of a 4-by-4 matrix. From that point on, the goal of my research is to gain a better understanding of that picture.

What have been the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of your research?

It’s always challenging when a problem just won’t budge despite several attempts. It’s easy to feel down because of this. In my case, I have to remind myself that the next day is another day to try again. I keep on plugging away by doing more computations, reading papers, meeting with the advisor, and attending seminars. After several months of attempts, my advisor and I finally managed to make a dent to the problem. As a math student, it’s always satisfying to see a string of inequalities working out in the right direction and in this case even more so since it’s a step towards solving my thesis problem. I live for such moments of clarity when things just fall into place to give a desired outcome.

Outside of math, what are your favorite things to do around Philadelphia?

When I first arrived in Philly, I made it a point to find the best cheesesteak in the city. I haven’t tried as many, but at some point, I will decide which is “the one.” Because I love trying out various foods, my favorite area to go to for a food trip is Chinatown or Reading Terminal market.

I live in West Philly, and I like to go running around the neighborhood. Unlike most cities I know, Philly is very walkable which is perfect for me as I tend to go for short walks when I need to take a break from work.

What is the most valuable lesson — inside or outside the classroom — you have learned at Drexel?

Perhaps the very first thing any Drexel student learns is that managing time is important. Moreover, I now have high regard for collaboration, a hallmark of Drexel education.

Why would you recommend the Math department at Drexel for graduate school?

The math department has very dynamic faculty members specializing in numerous interesting research. It’s a small department situated in Korman Center where you’re bound to hear in the hallway faculty members talking about math or lunch. They’re friendly enough that you can swing by their office (as long as they’re in) to talk about their research or any math for that matter.

What is the best advice that you can share with other students pursuing their graduate degree in Math at Drexel?

Math is hard. Prepare for long hours of studying or calculations. If you failed to get something today, that’s okay and don’t despair. It helps to talk to your advisor, other students, or friends/family. Be consistent, and try again tomorrow.