April 2012, Volume 16, Number 2

Making Their Mark

Alumni Seize on Infinite Opportunities

Nicolas Crivelli, Ian Sequeira, Carlos Sosa and Luis Larco
MDC Honors College alumni, left to right, Nicolas Crivelli, Ian Sequeira, Carlos Sosa and Luis Larco are all making an impact at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

In guiding students to achieve their goals, MDC’s Honors College instills confidence in them to aim for the top. Now, four exceptionally gifted alumni are paying it forward at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), opening up math’s infinite world of ideas to high school students in the Chicago area.

The four bright minds – Luis Larco, Nicolas Crivelli, Carlos Sosa and Ian Sequeira – first came together through the mathematics club at MDC as freshmen. Under the guidance of MDC Professor Dr. Alvio Domínguez, they created a successful math competition for area high school students.

Larco then went on to found the Miami Dade College chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers with other Honors College students. Soon after this, Sequeira, Sosa and Crivelli joined as members. The next year, Larco became the club’s president, and Sequeira and Sosa became officers.

“Those students are without a doubt among the best students I have ever had. Their level of perseverance and dedication is uncanny,” said Domínguez.

Powerful MDC Team

Upon graduating from the Honors College, the four each received generous Presidential Scholarships to attend IIT, where they are now pursuing degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. One of the requirements of the scholarship is committing to working on a STEM community-outreach project.

“We thought, why don’t we start the math competition here?” said Larco, 21, recently elected president of IIT’s Math Club, a position he reprises easily after presiding over MDC’s Wolfson Campus Mathematics Club. “Now we’re doing it for all schools in Chicago.”

The 2012 IIT High School Mathematics Competition was a huge success, receiving corporate backing with Wolfram Research donating 25 licenses of its mathematical modeling software to the winners. For next year’s competition, the team is planning to create a statewide math competition for two-year colleges. Larco is hoping to be able to offer scholarships for transfer students, like them.

Sharing Their Passion for Math

“What we’re trying to show is that a math competition is fun and creates a motivational standard,” said Crivelli, 21, who is originally from Argentina and studies mechanical engineering with the goal of someday designing Formula One race-car engines. “A lot of kids don’t know what opportunity they have in this country. We came to this country from outside, and we saw it and seized it.”

MDC provided a nurturing environment that gave them both the encouragement and tools to succeed, said Larco, who came to Miami from Peru at age 14. “I’m the kind of person who loves ideas and actually seeing them come to fruition,” he said. “MDC gave me that opportunity. I left the Honors College with the confidence to develop any idea that I have.”

— MR

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