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2022-23 Eberly Scholars: Gabriel Cardella

Major: Mathematics
Hometown: Belcamp, Maryland

  • Gabriel Cardella playing Saxaphone in WVU marching band
  • Gabriel Cardella Profile Photo
  • Gabriel Cardella with Saxaphone

How did you choose your major?

While math was my favorite subject throughout my years in elementary and middle school, I chose my mathematics major because of the magnet program I was in in high school, the Science and Mathematics Academy. It was then that a discovered my passion for mathematics, and realized that it was a field that I wanted to learn more about and potentially pursue a career in. As a high school senior applying to colleges, I found it very interesting that WVU has several areas of emphasis that mathematics majors can choose from, which was another huge reason for choosing my major here in college.

How would you explain your major to a new WVU student? What advice would you give them?

The mathematics major is one that I feel is misinterpreted by new students and those with other majors. When most people think about mathematics, they think about long, rigorous processes to arrive at an answer. Whether that is solving a word problem, computing the length of a side of a polygon, or finding an integral, most students view mathematics as very concrete. The mathematics major at WVU has allowed me to understand the true complexity, abstractness, and theoretical nature of mathematics. The major introduces questions of why properties, identities, etc., work the way that they do, and how they can be generalized.

The first thing that I would tell a new WVU student is to be patient, not give up, and keep a positive mindset when faced with adversity. College is with filled with challenges, both inside the classroom and out. I have found that one of the most rewarding things for me in college has been persisting and remaining motivated through hardship, and getting to the end of it, opposed to taking an easier alternative of giving up. As well, teachers often see this hard work you put in too!

How has your major prepared you for your future career?

My mathematics major has taught me the various fields that advanced mathematics are used in. When searching for internships over the past year, this idea became especially apparent to me, with opportunities spanning across countless disciplines for mathematics majors. As well, my major has taught me not only countless higher-level concepts but has enhanced my problem-solving skills as well. Despite having not yet graduated, I know that one of the most useful things that my major taught me was how to approach a problem efficiently.

How have you changed since your first year at WVU?

Since my first year at WVU, I have gained a passion for learning new things. When thinking retrospectively about my time as a freshman, I did not take studying, homework assignments, or overall inquiry in a subject as seriously as I do now. I have grown in this sense as I no longer feel that I take classes with the goal of getting a good grade, but rather I take them with the goal of learning more about the subject and concepts that the course present. In regard to my growth outside of the classroom, I also have become more independent and mature. Now that I live in an apartment, opposed to a residence hall, I have learned how to cook, clean, and maintain an organized living space. My residence in my apartment has taught me vital life skills that have helped to prepare me for adulthood and life after college.

What was your most memorable moment at WVU?

My most memorable moment at WVU was my performance with the “Pride of West Virginia” Mountaineer Marching Band during the home football game against Virginia Tech. Hearing the sold-out crowd during the “Gold Rush” game cheer loudly during our pregame show and perform the “Let’s Go Mountaineers” chant during the coin toss gave me chills. It showed me just how much pride both students and alumni have in WVU and the state as a whole. The pride that fans and students have in the university, and the large football/marching band programs were all big reasons why I chose to attend WVU, so it is fitting that this moment has had such a lasting impact on me.

What was the hardest (Eberly College) class that you loved? Why?

The hardest Eberly College class that I loved was a mathematics class I took in the Fall semester of my sophomore year, Introduction to the Concepts of Mathematics. This course was vastly different from every math class I had taken before, in the sense that it was a “proof-based” class, opposed to one focused around computational mathematics. Problems for this class often took multiple pages to complete and required a great deal of logical reasoning and completeness. Opposed to answering questions that produced numerical answers, we were challenged to prove mathematical identities and theorems using a wide range of mathematical concepts, such as “prove that the product of two odd integers is odd” or “use a proof by contradiction to show that the square root of 2 is irrational”. This class aims to serve as the bridge between lower-level and upper-level mathematics, showing me that mathematics is far more abstract than I had ever imagined. While this course was very challenging for me at first, I came out of it not only a better mathematician, but a smarter problem-solver and critical thinker as well.

What do you want others to know about you that is not on your resume?

Throughout my childhood, I played recreational, club, and high school varsity soccer. This involvement in soccer allowed me to fall in love with watching, following, and playing other sports with my friends and family. This love for following and being involved in sports has followed me my entire life, and I am very proud to call it a hobby of mine, even to this day. While I ultimately do not know the career my degree in mathematics will take me into, it has always been my dream to work in the sports industry.

What makes you feel connected to WVU?

Engaging in extracurricular activities is what makes me feel connected at WVU. I felt that I had a hard time connecting with other students virtually during the online classes and COVID-19 restrictions during my first couple of semesters in college. Participating in activities such as the marching band and the WVU Math Club has given me the opportunity to meet, connect, collaborate, and befriend other students from a variety of majors. A am very thankful for this sense of connection that these activities have provided thus far in college. Being able to take my mind off of stressful coursework while participating in them has been vital to my overall success as a WVU student.

What have been your keys to success?

One of the most important keys to my success in college thus far has been unrelenting positivity. I have found that it is very easy to get upset or discouraged from things either inside or outside of the classroom. Being able to remain in a positive mindset opposed to giving up in myself during these hardships has been a huge key to my success in college. Another key to my success has been time management. With more long-term projects, traveling to various parts of campus for classes, and extracurricular activities, I have found it much more of a necessity to manage my time wisely than in high school. This was something that I struggled with at first at WVU, but once I found a rhythm for myself, which I often have to do at the beginning of every semester, I became far more comfortable and organized.

What does it mean to be a Mountaineer?

Being a Mountaineer means having a great sense of pride in not only WVU, but West Virginia as a whole. I noticed very quickly my freshman year that West Virginia is generally thought negatively by the majority of Americans. Being a Mountaineer means to put this negative connotation aside and recognize the beauty of the state and its people and take great pride in it. Being a Mountaineer also means to exceed expectations and show the upmost compassion to anyone and everyone. Mountaineers are passionate in what they do and love most. I am and forever will be proud to call myself a Mountaineer.

Why would you recommend WVU to a family member or friend?

I would recommend WVU to a family member or friend because of the immense amount of pride that Mountaineers have in the university and state. From the moment I was accepted to WVU, I got a sense for this pride, recognizing all of the individuals I would see in public wearing the Blue and Gold. I realized that students and alumni genuinely love their time here at WVU, translating to a very positive morale on campus every day. To me, WVU has the perfect balance of access to a more urban lifestyle in the city of Morgantown and the Downtown campus, while also having access to seeing the beauty of the region’s landscape with places like Cooper’s Rock or Cheat Lake.

Do you have a favorite professor or instructor? What makes them special?

My favorite professor is Dr. David Miller. He taught me when I took Math 303: Introduction to the Concepts of Mathematics and is also my advisor. The way that he simplifies confusing upper-level material is what makes him so special. He would always seem enthusiastic to help me and my peers in class when a question arose, never making us feel less intelligent for asking. He is very compassionate and very organized as well. There was always timeliness to him responding to emails and grading homework assignments, quizzes, and exams. Dr. Miller is someone who I learned a lot from in the short time that he served as my professor and models how I think all professors should teach here at WVU.

What was your reaction when you found out you were an Eberly Scholar? How has this opportunity made a difference in your life?

When I found out that I was an Eberly Scholar, I was in Linear Algebra and immediately told my parents and girlfriend. I was and still am beyond grateful to be recognized as one of the top scholars of Eberly College. I am very proud of the work that I have put in to be recognized as an Eberly Scholar, from forming relationships with faculty members, to the countless hours I have spent doing homework and studying for various courses, to filling out the application. Being an Eberly Scholar has served as a reminder that my hard work does not go unrecognized and motivates me to be my best and set an example every day. It has allowed me to hold myself to a new standard, set new goals for myself, and feel more confident in myself and my abilities. I will be forever honored to have received this recognition and am beyond thankful for my family and the several faculty members that have helped and motivated me to get to where I am today.

About Eberly Scholars

In association with the ongoing generosity of the Eberly family, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board established the Eberly Scholars program in 1988. Each year, up to 25 students majoring in the arts and sciences are designated as Eberly Scholars. They are provided with scholarship support in recognition of their outstanding academic achievement. This award is the Eberly College’s most prestigious scholarship honor for undergraduate students.  

Meet all of this year's Eberly Scholars.