The game of math: Meet 2022 PNW graduate Marcos Diaz Gutierrez
For Marcos Diaz Gutierrez, ’22, math is a game that requires finding the right tools that will best solve a problem. His love of puzzles and math has led him to earn his bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics and Statistics from the College of Engineering and Sciences at Purdue University Northwest (PNW).
A native of Guadalajara, Spain, Diaz Gutierrez was a member of the PNW Pride men’s tennis team, which he credits with helping him develop organizational and time management skills. In addition to being a student athlete, he was a math tutor, as well as a member of the Mathematics and Statistics Club at PNW. Diaz Gutierrez also worked as a resident advisor.
Diaz Gutierrez’s organizational and time management skills paid off as he was named a Chancellor’s Medallion recipient, an honor awarded to students with the highest grade point average in each of the academic colleges.
After graduation, Diaz Gutierrez will be applying to graduate schools, hoping to continue his study of math. A master’s degree is just the first step in his five-year plan which includes earning a Ph.D. His ultimate goal is to work for a research university or organization, teaching and conducting research in the field of mathematics.
What did you like most about PNW?
“Many things but I’ll name the top two.
First, my team. The members of the men’s and women’s tennis team and the coaches. We shared so much time together they became my family. Before college, your family is your actual family but in college your family becomes the people you spend the most time with and those were my teammates and coaches.
Second, the professors in math and statistics. They were always extremely kind and helpful. The classes were small and I was able to build relationships with them. They were very supportive and I don’t feel I would have found this anywhere else.”
How do you think your involvement in campus organizations and activities helped define your success at PNW?
“There are so many lessons and so much knowledge that you don’t learn from books in college. The extra knowledge that I gained came from the people I knew – on the tennis team, the resident advisors team, Math Club, professors and classmates.
The opportunity to learn from people with different backgrounds, different opinions and different life experiences helped me to develop important skills. How to communicate with diverse groups, work as a team and how to problem-solve or resolve disputes, were all skills I had the chance to improve by being involved on campus.”
What words of advice would you share with prospective students looking to attend PNW?
“I think the key words are priorities and balance. If you get these two straight at the beginning of college you will have time to have fun, get good grades, play tennis, go to the gym – you’ll have time for everything. Learn to balance and prioritize and when your day has order you can do pretty much anything.”
Was there anyone at PNW who inspired or encouraged you along the way?
- Nicoleta Tarfulea, Professor and interim chair, Department of Mathematics and Statistics (Pictured)
- Nicolae Tarfulea, Professor of Mathematics, Department of Mathematics and Statistics (Pictured)
- Gokarna Aryal, Professor of Statistics, Department of Mathematics and Statistics (Pictured)
- Weihua Ruan, Professor of Mathematics, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
- Peter Turbek, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
“I think the greatest source of inspiration that I had at PNW was these professors. They encouraged me to keep studying and keep going which gave me a boost of confidence. Being able to talk with them about not only math and class materials but also about life, I was all ears and paid full attention. Just to have a chance to learn as much as I could from these people that I admire most – I could say thank you a million times and it wouldn’t be enough.”