Sep 01, 2023 | Paola Pinto Nazar Pyvovar's ('23) experiences, choices, and unwavering determination shaped the pathway to academic success during his time in the College of Science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of the University of Alabama System, where he pursued his degrees in Physics. His efforts and determination have him now pursuing a Ph.D. at Yale University. His story is marked by challenges, ranging from financial limitations to facing the sting of application rejections, all intertwined with the background of his home country falling into war. Pyvovar's journey, currently as a Ph.D. candidate at Yale University, commenced with his ambitious pursuit of applied physics. "Completing my undergraduate and master's degrees at UAH College of Science laid a robust academic foundation for me," Pyvovar shared. His choice to embrace a dual major in physics and mathematics was inspired by one of his high school educators employed at UAH, who recommended it for its quality education. Throughout his academic journey, mentorship and support emerged as guiding leaders. Dr. Miller, Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, marked Pyvovar's life as a great educator. "My favorite class, Quantum Mechanics, was taught by Dr. Miller. Beyond knowledge, he provided guidance and recognized avenues for growth." Pyvovar faced challenges as an international student from Ukraine. Visa restrictions threatened his stay, while the turmoil in Ukraine added an extra layer of uncertainty. Dr. Lingze Duan, a distinguished Physics professor and Associate Dean of Research and Strategic Initiatives, held a special place in Pyvovar's journey. Dr. Duan helped secure financial resources when Ph.D. programs rejected Pyvovar. "I applied to 15 or so PhD programs and was rejected from all of them, so I had nowhere to go", he says. "Dr. Duan's mentorship opened doors for my academic pursuits." “Nazar joined my research team as an undergraduate student about two and a half years ago and immediately demonstrated exceptional mastery of mathematics and theoretical physics (he completed two papers and one M.S. thesis within this period). But it was his unwavering passion toward fundamental science and perseverance through hardship that truly led to his success at UAH. I have no doubt they will continue to carry him along in his new endeavors,” Dr. Duan shares. Another remarkable connection he made was working with Professor James Baird, which led to an opportunity at Yale University. As Pyvovar moved forward, he saw how important networking was for his academic and professional journey. "Nazar is blessed with the rare gift of mathematical intuition. Given the strength of the Departments of Applied Physics and Mathematics at Yale, he should benefit greatly from his educational experience in New Haven, as I once did more than fifty years ago," Dr. Baird says. Pyvovar aspires to stay in academia during his future career, a goal forged since he started college. His evolution from UAH College of Science to Yale University shows the transformative power of education, mentorship, and determination. His journey, filled with obstacles, shines with the strong support of mentors. His story serves as a reminder that determination and allies can conquer any challenge.