Every Coalition student I’ve met has at least one endearing story about Hugo Ramirez, and each staffer has at least one great idea from the mind of Steve Chin. Just as mathematics is a crucial component of all the science and engineering fields, this Mathematical Duo plays a central role in the Coalition.
Steve and Hugo represent the Mathematics Department’s Professional Development Program (PDP), one of the oldest Coalition programs. The team of PDP staffers, which also includes Tansel Pope, Diana Lizarraga, and Chris Noble, manage a suite of programs that support students from early high school through graduation from Cal. They work with high school math teachers, bring a group of high schoolers from around the country to Berkeley for a residential summer engineering institute, run intensive math sections for incoming freshman, and provide undergraduate research opportunities for students approaching graduation (a program appropriately titled NERDS). That PDP’s reach extends beyond Cal’s student population is a credit to the aptitude and enthusiasm of its staff, who are quick to embrace any opportunity to extend their support network.
PDP was founded in 1974 with one lofty goal in its founder’s mind: “Professor Leon Henkin wanted to support students coming from the most marginalized and underprivileged groups, to help them become PhDs, professors, and Nobel laureates,” says Steve. Situated at the hub of science and engineering fields, their program has seen nearly every Coalition student over the past 37 years pass through its doors. While PDP has been through many changes and challenges in the decades since its founding, the goal remains the same; as associate director and PDP alumnus, Hugo Ramirez, says, “We are still motivated by the idea, ‘Let’s get some Nobel laureates,’ some very powerful influential people who can make systemic changes in our society and our academic environment.” With Steve and Hugo at the helm, this project is in very capable hands
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