Gabriela Rodrigues of Mount Sinai, graduated summa cum laude from St. Joseph’s College this spring earning a B.A. in Mathematics and a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science with a certification in secondary education.
While at St. Joseph's College, she was on the Dean’s List every semester. In addition, she was elected into Kappa Gamma Pi, Upsilon Pi Epsilon, Kappa Mu Epsilon, Delta Epsilon Sigma and Sigma Iota Chi honor societies. Gabriela was also a Dean’s Service Circle volunteer and member of the Matrix Club, Finance and Investment Club, Keep a Child Alive and Habitat for Humanity.
We spoke with Rodrigues about her career at college and how she was able to balance out earning two degrees while still volunteering and graduating with honors.
What year did you graduate from Mt. Sinai High School?
I graduated Mount Sinai High School in 2007.
I see you have so many achievements and society memberships. How do you maintain a high level of academics? Do you have any secrets to impart for others?
I think that the best advice that I could give in order for students to maintain or achieve a high level of academics is to learn how to prioritize and multitask. Earning an undergraduate education is an investment–something that will lead to a better life. Students need to realize that since they are taking the time to earn an education, they have to invest time in their studies.
Unfortunately, this means that some things, such as hanging out with friends every weekend or working, have to be limited. We spend a small amount of time actually earning an education. These sacrifices that we make now will pay off later in life.
Given the fact that students need to learn how to prioritize, students also need to learn how to multitask. That balance of school, work, and friends, along with extra-curricular activities allows students to perform their best and have many accomplishments in a short period of time.
What about math/computer science do you like so much?
I like that mathematics and computer science are both logical and artistic. There are always several ways that a problem can be solved or a program can be written–it simply depends on the person handling the situation to figure out their own means of logically answering the questions.
Do you have any Math or computer programming heroes?
My favorite mathematician is John Forbes Nash, Nobel Prize winner in Economics. Although he suffered schizophrenia and was at one point ostracized by the mathematics community, his works in game theory, differential geometry, and partial differential equations have changed the face of mathematics for a lifetime.
What about books? Have a favortie type/author related to math/computers?
I don't believe that I have a favorite author related to mathematics or computer science. Learning about mathematics or computer science is an active process. Textbooks are tools that guide us through that process.
I see you also were involved with volunteer clubs. How do you feel about the work/organizations you were a part of?
Each and every organization that I became apart of throughout my four years at St. Joseph's College have a special place in my heart. Each organization, whether academic or philanthropic, brings something new to the campus atmosphere.
For example Keep a Child Alive, an organization that I was treasurer for two years, dedicated its mission to raising funds for medical supplies for children who have HIV/AIDS in third-world countries. Throughout the past four years of the club's existence, we have raised over $20,000.
The Matrix Club, the official Mathematics Club on campus, raises students' interest of mathematical applications in today's society. I was the treasurer and secretary of this club for two years. Through events hosted on campus, proceeds went directly to St. Jude's Medical Foundation.
What do you see yourself doing next? What career are you thinking of pursuing?
I graduated from St. Joseph's College with a certificate in extended Secondary Education. My hope is to find a teaching job and teach my students with the same passion for mathematics that I have.
What do you have lined up for the summer if anything? Relaxing? Vacation? Right to work?
Other than working and looking for a job, I have decided to take this summer to try and relax.
Can you tell me about your family?
My family is very large and full of personalities.My parents, Maria and Augusto Rodrigues, will be celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary this August. My father owns his own landscaping business and together, they have four children.
Dina, my oldest sister, is currently attending Stony Brook Medical School, where she went to for both her bachelor's and master's degrees. She wants to specialize in pediatric cardiology.
My older sister, Malessa, went to St. John's University for both her undergraduate degree, where she majored in history and economics with a minor in theology, and graduate degree, where she majored in finance. She is currently working as a banker at Chase in Medford.
My younger brother, Philip, will be a Senior at Mount Sinai High School this coming fall. He wants to study landscape architecture and join in the family business one day.