COSAM News Articles 2020 July Alejandra Brewer Castano Receives National Award and Inspires Future Generations

Alejandra Brewer Castano Receives National Award and Inspires Future Generations

Published: 07/07/2020

By: Maria Gebhardt

“I wish I could have told my mom that I received this prestigious award that supports my doctoral studies and supports my aspiration to be a math professor,” explained Alejandra Brewer Castano. “My mom passed away two years ago and she did not get the opportunity to pursue her education at the university level, but always encouraged me to do so.”

Castano is one of just two students at Auburn University selected as this year’s recipients of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) State Doctoral Scholar Program that provides financial assistance, research funding, and career resources such as career-centric counseling, networking, and opportunities. For the first three years, Castano will receive funding through SREB and her last two years, she will receive support through the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM). 

According to the SREB website, “The goal of the Doctoral Scholars Program is to increase the number of minority students who earn doctorates and choose to become faculty at colleges and universities.”

Castano will continue to pursue her education in COSAM’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics in discrete math where she will study mathematical structures that explain complex objects and problems. 

“This award allows me to be part of a community of dynamic doctoral students with a shared experience,” Castano shared. “I will be able to develop and grow professionally, improve my teaching, and learn how I can personally impact my community as a future faculty member.”

Born in London, to a Colombian family, Castano moved to North America when she was very young. She will have the ability to inspire future generations through this program.

“I hope to encourage future Hispanic women to pursue academia and STEM,” she said. 

During her education, she saw the power of women influencing others to excel and pursue their dreams. 

“One of the most influential experiences for me as an undergraduate student was having excellent women professors and mentors,” she said. “Without this, I may not have had the confidence to pursue a career as a professor. Seeing people who look like me doing what I dream to do made a big difference and I really want to be that for someone else.” 

Although she could not share this accomplishment with her mother, Castano will have the chance to earn her doctorate degree at Auburn University and honor her mother through her accomplishments.

“My mother was always encouraging me to pursue a future in academia, and now I have the ability to make that a reality,” she said. 

Castano is already inspiring future female leaders in education. Her younger sister is starting her undergraduate education in math this fall. 

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