Q&A: Professor sums it up
Mathematician shares stories of travel and family
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 00:10
THE BATTALION: What was your first day like in U.S.?
Pearlstein: When I arrived at the airport at Boston, I got on the bus and at first I thought I was in the wrong place. There were no big buildings in Amherst [College] like what was on TV. I was expecting something different, but in a good way. I was amazed by the colors in the fall and the snow. [I grew up] in Southern Italy, which isn’t as hot as here, but you only see snow far away on the mountains.
THE BATTALION: What was it like when you first got to Texas?
Pearlstein: I spent all of August in survival mode with the heat. Every time I walked outside, I remembered I was in Texas. I think that people are friendlier here. I also like the fact that I can go for a walk outside and not always have to put overcoats on.
THE BATTALION: What was the biggest cultural shock?
Pearlstein: I wouldn’t say cultural shock. One thing that I am curious about is the fences in front of all the houses. In Michigan and other places I have lived, they haven’t had fences. Sometimes it gives me a hard time to distinguish where
THE BATTALION: What is your favorite part of A&M?
Pearlstein: I think teaching. I guess I am always happy when I am trying to explain something difficult to a student and breaking it down so they can understand it.
THE BATTALION: Where was your favorite place
Pearlstein: When all is said and done, Italy. It was great. Compared to the United States, it is a little more laid back. My favorite parts were the family get-togethers and the big family dinners.
THE BATTALION: What is one thing you want students to know?
Pearlstein: I would say that I just like teaching and their success. To some extent, their success is my success. As far as academics, I tell them do as many homework problems as you can.
THE BATTALION: Where else have you lived?
Pearlstein: Besides Texas and Italy — Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, North Carolina and Michigan. All for teaching.
THE BATTALION: How would your daughters describe you?
Pearlstein: Sometimes they describe me as extremely annoying, especially when they are watching TV and I tell them they should be doing their homework. I think they both have a rebellious streak. I don’t predict they will follow since both their parents are mathematicians.
THE BATTALION: What is a typical day for you?
Pearlstein: It is a lot of time spent taking care of my classes. Whether it is answering students’ questions, week-in-reviews, quizzes or tests. The rest of the day I spend with my family.
THE BATTALION: Where did you meet your husband?
Pearlstein: University of Massachusetts. I remember one time I was trying to send emails to friends and professors in Italy. The computer was betraying me, the email wouldn’t work. I had written long letters and put my heart into them and the email would lose them. One day, he came in the computer room and saw me having trouble and he told me, “Why don’t you save your letters in a folder?”
THE BATTALION: Why did you want to attend college in America?
Pearlstein: I was 22, I had the whole idea of the American dream. It was a little bit of an infatuation with the United States.
THE BATTALION: Did you have any problems with communication?
Pearlstein: One thing that happened to me was when I went to the secretary in the mathematics department. I guess my English was really broken. I wanted to ask where my mailbox was so I told her and my name. She looked at me like I was scared and asked me if I was sure about my name.
THE BATTALION: Do you have any embarrassing stories?
Pearlstein: One day I went home after work. I was talking to my daughter. She was in about fourth or fifth grade. I was teaching an algebra class at the time and I was telling my daughter about “reminders.” I kept saying it and my daughter told me, “Mom, don’t you realize what you are doing?” I meant “remainder,” not reminder. She still reminds me of this to this day.