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THURSDAY, JUNE 23, 2016 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS Gigliola Staffilani and her parable to success LAVINIA PISANI G igliola Staffilani is the only Italian woman teach- ing full time pure mathe- matics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Originally from Martinsicuro, a town in the Abruzzi region, her future was supposed to be as a hairstylist. "I am glad that I could be a role model for many girls who may be interested in becoming a professional mathematician," she writes during our email interview. In fact, her story proofs that math is for women as well. Both her parents were farmers and the first one in the family to go to college was her older broth- er. Staffilani was a hard working student but as stability vanished with the tragic loss of her dad, who passed away of colon cancer when she was 10, her priority became to financially help her mom. Still, mathematics was her landmark. "It was the part of the world were there is only one reality. Everything is logic, maybe diffi- cult, but absolute," Staffilani said during a former interview with Riviera Oggi. Thanks to outstanding perfor- mances in high school, Staffilani's mother conveyed a career, as a secondary school, or high school, math teacher was a good path for her daughter to pur- sue. So, she enrolled at the University of Bologna and gradu- ated in math. Continued to page 3 Gigliola Staffilani. Professor of Mathematics at the Department of Mathematics Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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