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Hernandez’s Mathematics Curiosity Motivates Him Toward Higher Education

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – DECEMBER 5, 2011 – Life’s equations tend to be easy for Evert Hernandez.

Working with numbers has always been easy for him, whether it is figuring out how much tax to pay on a bill at a restaurant or solving algebra problems.

“Some people think math is not used anymore or don’t know where to apply it in their lives,” said Hernandez. “Some people think it’s too abstract for them.”

Hernandez’s Mathematics Curiosity Motivates Him Toward Higher Education

Hernandez will receive his master’s degree at The University of Texas at Brownsville’s 17th Winter Commencement at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17 on the Cardenas South Hall Lawn. David G. Oliveira, a member of the Texas Southmost College Board of Trustees, will be the keynote speaker.

“It’s an opportunity everyone should have,” Hernandez said about receiving a graduate degree.

For his degree, Hernandez wrote the thesis “Primitive Elements of Certain Galois Extensions Over the Field of Rational Numbers.” He based his work on the Primitive Element Theorem, which says that each finite degree separable field extension is primitive.

The thesis took Hernandez two semesters to research and write. He used his own course notes, textbooks and online resources for research.

“I learned a lot about how to write a paper in mathematics,” said Hernandez, 24. “It’s something I have never done. I learned how to collect data properly and from there giving it some meaning and purpose.”

Hernandez’s thesis advisor was Dr. Paul-Hermann Zieschang, a Professor in the Department of Mathematics.

“We often met in Starbucks and discussed Galois Theory,” said Zieschang. “Evert was very eager to understand everything 100 percent. I think he is also fairly solid now in Group Theory and in Ring Theory, and I hope he will be successful in applying to a Ph.D. program.”

Hernandez’s thesis committee was made of Dr. Charles Lackey, Dean of the Office of Graduate Studies, Dr. John Garza and Dr. Ziad Adwan, both assistant professors in the Department of Mathematics.

“Evert defines what a good graduate student must be like,” said Adwan. “He takes his work very seriously and he pays careful attention to the slightest detail. I wish that all our graduate students were like him.”

Hernandez said other students should consider earning graduate degrees but not only for financial opportunities in their future careers, but as a means to expand their knowledge.

“They will eventually see the master’s courses are not the same ones they see when they are getting their bachelor’s degrees,” said Hernandez.

During his master’s degree work, he was a part-time instructor for developmental mathematics classes at the university.

“I really enjoyed doing it,” he said. “You are showing people in the developmental courses something they have seen but probably not realized.”

Hernandez grew up in Tampico, Mexico and attended middle school in Matamoros. He is a graduate of Saint Joseph Academy in Brownsville. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from UTB in December 2009.

“I wanted to not just stop there,” he said. “I wanted a deeper understanding of what my career was. I thought it was necessary.”

Upon receiving his master’s degree, Hernandez said he wants to look at doctoral programs, teach high school or collegiate-level mathematics.

“I’m open to opportunities, but I want to find some direction soon,” he said.

 

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