Jose Medel

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Sciences

College/School: School of Integrated Science and Humanity, College of Arts, Sciences & Education

When Jose Medel gave his senior presentation — a proof of the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra using Stokes Theorem — the three faculty members judging the work were silenced by their own fascination. Jose’s delivery was as creative as it was complex. He views math like art — something to be observed, discussed and understood.

A son of musicians, Jose grew up in Mexico before moving to the United States with his mother when he was 15. When he decided to go to college, he chose FIU to be closer to his mom. He was a full-time student and worked a full-time job at McDonald’s to help make ends meet. That didn’t leave much time for studying, but the abstract thinker got the attention of several within the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

After several semesters, Jose’s struggles gave way to new opportunities. He left his job and became a tutor at the Center for Academic Success. He liked having a job where he could help people and talk about math all day. It also gave him more time to study. When Jose casually mentioned his love of math to professor Mirroslav Yotov, the professor committed that day to helping Jose succeed. He even helped him obtain a Ronald McNair Scholarship for summer research.

Jose’s life has been a journey of creativity, complexity and perseverance. He is still creating the next chapter, but he knows it will involve FIU for a while longer. He will begin the master’s program in math this fall.

By JoAnn Adkins
Director of Marketing & Communications
College of Arts, Sciences & Education