Seeing Professor Don Davis' name in the newspaper, Paul Martino's mom called the Lehigh University math professor out of the blue when her son was in eighth grade. At the time, none of them could foresee how that call would impact Paul's life.
Professor Don Davis not only helped the young man with his fractal math project that year but also mentored Paul throughout high school with his projects, was influential in his decision to attend Lehigh, and arranged for Paul to interview for Lehigh's Trustee Scholarship.
"Thankfully, Don got me the interview. I would not have gotten the scholarship if it wasn't for him," said Paul, managing director of venture capital firm Bullpen Capital.
Paul not only appreciates the guidance and education that Don provided him but also what he is doing for other academically gifted high school students. So much so, that he and his wife Aarati support his efforts.
Since 1981 Don has annually held the Lehigh Valley Math Contest on campus, hosting hundreds of the best "mathletes" from regional high schools. In 1993, the year after Paul competed, Don created the American Regions Math League (ARML) team and began taking the best of the best to the Mid-Atlantic regional competition. His first team had 15 students.
"Don's ARML program addresses a problem that Aarati and I had growing up, which was that we were smart kids with no idea of what to do," said Paul. "This is giving these kids an outlet to be who they are."
Because of Paul and Aarati's generosity, Don now takes 75 students each year to ARML. Annual gifts from the Martinos; a matching gift from Aarati's employer, Google; and the recent establishment of the Aarati P. and Paul J. Martino '95 Endowment Fund are helping a program near and dear to their hearts.
"How many people can know someone like Don Davis and help support a great program like that?" asked Paul.