Publish Date

Congratulations to Maria Corpuz, our 2023 Outstanding Student in Mathematics! 

Every year a math graduate is selected for this award, recognizing her/his distinctive and outstanding achievement. This year's award goes to Maria Corpuz (Garden Grove, CA). Congratulations!!

Maria had worked as a nurse for several years (she still has an active license). She decided to go back to school to study math at UIS because this is what she likes, and she is good at math. In particular, she wants to combine her work experience in healthcare with math. One of her long-term goals is to harness the power of mathematical modeling and data to improve patient care (in particular, accessibility to and adherence in medication for the elderly). 

During her time at UIS, Maria worked with Dr. Liang Kong on a research project (they were our first student-mentor pair in our Directed Research/Reading (DRR) Program!)

I asked Maria to share with us her experience on the research project (see below). If you are interested in studying math or being a part of the DRR program, feel free to contact me!

(Dr. Hei-Chi Chan, MAT/PHI,, September 6, 2023) 

Keywords: UIS Mathematical Sciences Department, UIS MAT Directed Research/Reading (DRR) Program, UIS Outstanding Student Award in Mathematics

My Undergraduate Research Experience

By Maria Corpuz

Maria Corpuz

I would love to combine my passion for helping others with my love for problem-solving as I transition my career from nursing to mathematics. I embrace the challenge of transitioning into a completely different field, proving that it's never too late to follow your next calling. Spending several years working in healthcare, I have developed skills in critical thinking, attention to detail, and the ability to work under pressure. Although I enjoyed the rewarding aspects of nursing, I always felt a deep curiosity and fascination with the world of numbers and patterns. This curiosity sparked a desire to explore the realm of mathematics further. To further enhance my mathematical skills, I collaborated with Dr. Liang Kong, Associate Professor at the UIS Department of Mathematical Sciences and Data Analytics Program, on epidemiology topics that allowed me to apply mathematical principles to real-world problems, such as HIV math modeling. It involves equations and statistical methods to simulate how the virus spreads. By inputting various factors such as infection rates, transmission probabilities, and treatment effectiveness, math models can help researchers and policymakers make informed decisions about prevention strategies, resource allocation, and the overall impact of public health interventions. This research experience has inspired me to focus on math modeling when I apply for graduate school. My healthcare background gives me a distinct perspective, enabling me to tackle mathematical problems with a compassionate and empathetic approach. I firmly believe that my nursing experience has honed my ability to think critically, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively—a valuable skill set that complements my mathematical skills. As I plan to further my studies in graduate school, I hope to someday combine nursing skills with mathematical modeling, and to contribute to revolutionizing healthcare by using data-driven approaches to improve patient outcomes and optimize medical interventions.