California State University, Fullerton

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Donating to CSUF Adds Up for Math Professor

Nov. 16, 2012

Cheryl Carrera is a goal-oriented person.

At 16 years old, she decided to skip her senior year of high school and get started on college.

She was accepted to Cal State Fullerton in 1976 and was looking forward to being a college freshman, but after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, she spent her freshman year going to radiation treatments in the morning and classes in the afternoon. “My start at Cal State Fullerton was pretty rocky,” Carrera recalled.

Challenges continued to creep into Carrera’s life, but she didn't let raising a family and working full-time deter her from her dream of a higher education, and 17 years later, she was the first person in her family to earn a college degree.

Today, Carrera has a bachelor's degree in math from CSUF, a master’s degree in education and another in mathematics, as well as a doctorate. Currently, she is a math professor at Santa Ana College, and has established an endowment at CSUF to create the Cheryl Carrera Math Scholarship aimed at helping Titan students who may have had a few detours on their way to earning a math degree.

Carrera credits her many friends, colleagues and family who have generously donated to create the endowment. Her enthusiasm about giving back has spread to her colleagues.

Mathematics Professor Martin Bonsangue, the 2010-11 Outstanding Professor, also launched a math scholarship fund recently. It benefits first-generation college students pursuing careers as math teachers.

“Cher and Carl Carrera’s generosity was really inspiring for me and was the model that I used for setting up this scholarship,” Bonsangue said.

For information about giving to the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, please contact Camille Harper, Director of Development, at or 657-278-2245.

By: Michael Mahi, 657-278-5143

Tags:  Titan Pride