The objective of the Instituto TIM-OBMEP Scholarships is to enable young talents in Mathematics who have been medalists in some edition of the Brazilian Public School Math Olympics (OBMEP) to continue studying and graduating from college. Since 2015, every year 50 students from all over the country, approved to graduate from public universities, are selected to receive support – which grants an amount of $ 1,200 per month and lasts 4 years. Most of them are residents of regions away from major centers, and could not make up the college without the scholarship. Some even use the support money to supplement the income of their families.

The twins Gabriel and Mateus Leite Queiroz Nunes study Statistics at the Federal University of Pernambuco, in Recife. The affinity towards Mathematics is something inherited: the boys’ mother, who was a technician in Electrotechnology, liked the subject and taught them how to do it since they were little boys. Gabriel and Mateus participate in the OBMEP Masters Scientific Initiation Program, in which they spend the first two years of graduation making the basic Mathematic subjects and in the last two, they begin the Masters process. In other words, they will finish, at the same time, the graduation in Statistics and the Masters in Mathematics. Because they stay all day in college, they do not have time to work, and the scholarship helps to supplement the family’s income – the twins’ parents have a trade that has been shaved because of the crisis. “It’s what makes me feel safer with life, comfortable: knowing that I can help my parents so they do not have to go to sleep every night thinking if they’re going to get the money to buy a book, to go somewhere”, says Gabriel.

The affinity towards mathematics also comes from home to Ana Maria Paludo, a student of Mathematics at the Technological Federal University of Paraná, in Pato Branco-PR. Her older sister is a teacher of the subject. “When I was a kid, I used to joke that I was a teacher and taught everyone. Mathematics enchanted me by its precision, by logic, by the everyday use”, she says. Ana’s mother is a seamstress and her father suffered an accident while working in the Army that affected his spine and prevents him from working. Ana uses the sponsorship to help her family, as well as having more time to devote herself exclusively to studies. “I was relieved because I was going to be able to take care of my family and also to continue increasing my studies”. Like her sister, Ana Maria intends to be a teacher of Mathematics in the future.

Ianca Colombo, who studies Mechanical Engineering at the Federal University of São João del-Rei, also uses the support money to help at home. At the beginning of college, in 2016, she lived in Lagoa Dourada, at 40 km from São João del-Rei, with her mother, her 15-year-old sister and her grandmother. Until receiving the grant, the family’s income depended on her grandmother’s retirement and part-time Ianca’s work at a stationery shop. “When I saw that I got the sponsorship, I felt that it was worth all the effort I’ve had in my life. It was a joy that I cannot even explain!”, recalls the student. In order to be able to attend college and at the same time supplement the income of the family, Ianca studied in the morning and at the weekends, worked in a store in the afternoon and went to university at night (a journey that took about 3 hours).


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