“He’s a keeper,” enthused the professor who wrote one of Ivan’s recommendations. Citing his student’s “formidable mind,” the teacher elaborated: “Ivan belongs to my dream team of students learning in a seminar setting.” That thirst for learning takes many forms; one advisor noted that Ivan performs very strongly across the curriculum, and that “the subjects that interest him the most are seemingly unrelated, engineering and the Classics.” On the hour and a half subway commute in each direction from his home in the Bronx, Ivan says, “I read a lot.” Asked about obstacles in his life he includes the Bronx itself, where “violence and drugs are prevalent on every corner.” He cherishes the diversity of his friends at school while “I embrace my Mexican heritage. After all, being a first-generation Mexican-American does not represent just me, but my mother, father and their families as well.” He will study computer science at university, aiming to get both a college degree and a master’s in four years. Asked where in the world he would want to visit, he named both Italy and Japan. Why that combination? Because, he said, he loves both Dante and Nintendo.

Ivan chose Dr. Bruce Matthews, a philosophy professor who taught his first-year seminar, as his teacher who made a difference. “After listening to his lectures, as well as reading the amazing material,” Ivan wrote, “I've learned to like engaging in discussions and ideas that prompt thinking.”

Many thanks to Perry Pazer for sponsoring Ivan through his college journey.