Q&A: Grad’s persistence, determination add up to bright future

Class of 2024

Apr 23, 2024
Emily Crowley

Emily Crowley ’24 will earn a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from Florida Polytechnic University on Sunday, May 5. Crowley is a graduate of the International Baccalaureate School at Bartow High School. Through high school and college, she dedicated herself to learning and achieving personal and academic goals while adjusting to living with lupus, an autoimmune disease.

When not advancing her mathematical knowledge, Crowley enjoys exercising her creative side by sewing, knitting, crocheting, and playing the clarinet. “Doing lots of things that are different from what I have to do every day keeps me balanced,” she said. “Crocheting and knitting – that’s engineering. That’s the design process.”

Why did you choose your major? 

Math has always been my favorite subject, ever since I did hands-on equations in third grade. As I got further in school, I fell in love with it. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my career until I took calculus in high school. I thought, ‘I love this, and I want to do stuff like this!’ 

How well do you feel Florida Poly prepared you for life after graduation?

I think they’ve prepared me very well. The fact they require you to have an internship really prepares you. It definitely put into perspective what my career after college could look like and made me think harder about what field I want to go into. Applied mathematics is a very broad major and you can go into so many different fields. It all depends on how you present yourself and what kinds of things you’re interested in.

Where did you complete your internship(s) and what did you gain from the experience?

At AssistRx in Orlando, but remotely. I started there last summer and I’m still working there now. They want to hire me after I graduate. During my internship, I worked mostly in product support and it was mostly learning about the transition from being in school to being in the workforce and being part of a team in that setting. Having a boss, deadlines, and work to do and managing those types of responsibilities was not what I was used to, so it was a really good experience. I gained professional experience and connections so I could move to a more technical position. 

What did you enjoy most about your time at Florida Poly?

I really enjoyed being able to find what I really love about math while taking all these higher division classes in an environment where I would never necessarily pursue this stuff on my own. A lot of these topics can seem unapproachable and daunting to do by yourself. In a classroom setting, it’s easier to approach. Even though I wouldn’t be using all of it in my job, it’s really about learning how to think critically, problem solve, and things of that nature. 

What was your greatest accomplishment at the University?

Since I was 16, I’ve dealt with a chronic illness – lupus – and starting college was very scary. I didn’t think I would be able to get through it. So, my biggest accomplishment is being able to graduate and being able to go to all my classes and finish. At the end of the day, I don’t care how my grades ended up. I’m so happy I was able to get through it and enjoy it. 

The classes are so small and you’re so close to your professors here. I was able to talk to them and say, ‘This is the situation. What can I do to set myself up for success?’ The Office of Disability Services is really great to work with in getting me set up with accommodations and working with me if I was too sick to take an exam, or being the bridge between me and any professors.

What does earning your degree mean to you?

It’s pretty cool to say you have a degree in applied math. It’s a big sign of accomplishing something I wasn’t even sure I was able to. These math classes are some of the hardest they offer at the University and they can be intense. To me, it means I was able to accomplish something really great that not a lot of people get to do.

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of Q&As with several Florida Poly Class of 2024 graduates.


Lydia Guzmán
Director of Communications