Daniel E. Otero
- Ethnicity: Hispanic
- Gender: M
- Year of Birth: 1959
- Place of Birth: Miami, Florida
3800 Victory Pkwy
Cincinnati, OH 45207
Voice (513) 745-2012
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- PhD Institution: Pennsylvania State University, 1987
- Dissertation Title: Extraction of mth Roots in Matrix Rings over Fields
- Advisor: Leonid Vaserstein
- MA Institution: University of Pennsylvania, 1982
- BA Institution: Providence College, 1980
Daniel Otero is a first generation Cuban American born in 1959 in Miami, Florida. His father, Lorenzo, was born in Havana in 1923 to a cabinet maker. During World War II, Otero's grandfather and great uncle moved to Miami with their families; Lorenzo was 13. They were one of the first Cuban families to move to Miami. Otero's mother, Sylvia Masson, is Puerto Rican. Her father, Esteban, was a sugar mill engineer in Puerto Rico. Esteban earned his engineering degree at Louisiana State University. In the '40's he was transferred to Miami; Sylvia was a teenager.
Otero's parents met while at the University of Miami. His father was studying architecture, his mother art. Eventually, his father quit to become a draftsman, but his mother completed her studies. They were married in 1956. Danny was born in 1959, the first of five children -- three girls and two boys.
All five children went to Catholic school. In kindergarten Otero was identified as gifted and was put into the first grade. He went to a seminary high school to receive traditional training in the priesthood. He began when he was twelve with twelve other boys. It was clear to Otero by his junior year that he was not going to become a priest. Of the twelve that began, only two graduated, of which he was one.
Otero was always a good student. Studying came easily except on two occasions. In second grade he was kept after school to learn subtraction. In seventh grade he earned a D- in mathematics the first quarter and his parents grounded him. This paid off; he earned an A- the following quarter.
Otero's high school calculus teacher was an important mentor and they have remained close. Cuban born, his mentor encouraged Otero to apply to Providence College, where he received a full scholarship. He majored in mathematics as a freshman, less because he wanted to become a mathematician than because it seemed to be the wisest thing to do, for he was interested in everything. Otero thought many times of changing his major to music, philosophy, or physics. Fortunately, he was not sufficiently disappointed with mathematics to switch to another field.
While in graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, Otero initially failed his comprehensive examinations. After retaking the first two of four required, he went home for lunch. On the way he was struck by a car and spent the next month in traction; his plans for a Ph.D. were shattered. He was granted a Master's of Science degree in Mathematics. He then went on to Pennsylvania State University where he earned his Ph.D. in mathematics.
He knew as early as his junior year in high school that he would get a graduate degree in some area. He had wanted to teach since he was a sophomore in high school. Always analyzing his teachers, he wondered, "Could I do it better?"[Vicki Hill]