If jigsaw puzzles and mystery novels could be translated into a college major, it would probably be math, says junior Mia Arnold, who credits her childhood zeal for the former with igniting her adult passion for the latter. “They all require using your head to solve a problem,” she explains. “I see math as a set of puzzles, and I’ve always enjoyed finding the solutions.” After graduation, Arnold hopes to share this fondness for equations, theorems and numbers with seventh-graders in her hometown of Indio, land of dates and music festivals. So she signed up for UCI’s CalTeach program, which prepares talented science and math undergrads for teaching careers. She also volunteers with FYRE, which mentors former foster youth as they navigate university life. Arnold, who spent part of her upbringing in foster care, says FYRE helped her accept the experience as part of her identity, and she strives to enable others to do the same and succeed at UCI.
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