Degree: Master of Science in Mathematical Sciences
College/School: School of Integrated Science and Humanity, College of Arts, Sciences & Education
When Francisco Reyes was a kid, he hated school. Now he wants to work in one. It’s quite the change for the high school dropout who once worked as an air conditioning and refrigeration mechanic for the U.S. Army, a security guard in Miami Beach, grounds crew for the Marlins and for a UPS warehouse.
Francisco’s dad was in the U.S. Air Force. The family settled in Miami when Francisco was 12. As a teenager, he often found himself in trouble at school, which led to his early exit at 16. He earned his GED at 17. He joined the Army at 19 and was honorably discharged a year later. That year, his daughter was born. He worked to provide for her. She provided inspiration.
At 26, he enrolled at Miami Dade College, earning an associate degree with a 3.6 GPA. He transferred to FIU, earning a bachelor’s in applied mathematics. The guy who once hated school wasn’t done yet. He enrolled in the master’s program in mathematical science. While at FIU, he worked as a learning assistant and later a teaching assistant. He was hooked on teaching.
He has accepted a position as an instructor in FIU’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics and will begin the Ph.D. program in the fall. He credits Professor Laura De Carli for supporting him on his journey. Nearly 20 years after walking away from school, he has built a career that will keep him in the classroom for the foreseeable future.
By Ayleen Barbel Fattal
College of Arts, Sciences & Education