professor
Daniela De Silva

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Apr 2021

The sweetest professor at Columbia. Amazing at explaining calculus in a way that makes it intuitive. Tests are not too difficult nor too easy but she curves well enough. Take her class if you need to take any Calculus class and she's an option. She is unrivaled in her teaching ability, intelligence, and kindness.

Dec 2017

BEST PROFESSOR. I'm happy I trusted CULPA on this one. Daniela De Silva is probably the nicest, most caring professor at this school. She is actually a fantastic teacher. She teaches the material in a very clear way, is happy to answer questions until everything is clarified, and spends the first 2 minutes of each class summarizing what was taught last class. She does not want you to stress. She is happy to see you in office hours even for the most trivial Calc I question and will tell you to email her to set up another time to meet if her scheduled hours don't work. This class is not easy. In my opinion her exams are really difficult, especially the last problem, no matter how much you study. However, she gives partial credit generously and curves the mean of the class to a B+, so it's possible to still do well. Every single one of my classmates had only positive things to say about De Silva because she is a great teacher and really shows she cares about her students. This was my lowest grade of the semester, and I'm not a the biggest fan of 8:40AM classes, but I still recommend taking Calc 3 with Daniela!

Aug 2017

Calc III is supposed to be a terrible class but Professor De Silva made it manageable and a lot easier. Her homeworks are all doable and although I wouldn't say her exams are easy, they're by no means hard (she doesn't try to trick you or catch you out on anything) and she curves so nicely. She also explains everything really well. 100% take Calc III with De Silva.

Aug 2016

Daniela De Silva teaches class in a way that I thought was very of service to the students. She takes class as an opportunity to walk the entire class through whole problems on the board, and at times she offers some anecdotes that are just as helpful as well. Your tests will consist of problems that easily are defined as typical problems for the subject.

Jul 2016

I took Calculus III last term with Dr. De Silva and she was amazing. She is incredibly kind and approachable during office hours, during class, and after class. When people had questions in class about a problem, she would patiently go through it. She was also incredibly organized: HWs were posted weeks before they were due, as were practice midterms/finals and solutions. She also stuck to the book fairly well. I also dealt with a sickness over the term and she was beyond generous and kind. I frankly do not have enough good things to say about her. The first midterm was quite easy because it consisted primarily of the cross product and dot product, so many people did well and stopped attending class. This led to a very low average for the second midterm. The final was about average difficulty. She has 90% problems that we've covered in class and HW, and 1 more tricky theory problem. Anything I didn't understand, I felt was my fault for not going to class/seeking out help - I really felt it was quite fair. She also has an entertaining accent which I personally found amusing, but it might bother people, I don't know. If you have a chance to take a calculus class with her, I would highly recommend it.

May 2015

Yes, all the previous reviews for Daniela below says she's amazing and so will this one. Daniela is not just a great math professor but she's also a very sweet person if you have the chance to get to know her. I must admit, I never planned on taking Calc 2 (especially with the horror stories I've heard from my friends) but this course turned out not to be half as bad as I thought and I'll even say ended up really enjoying the class. First of all, Daniela is very good at her job, she's a great lecturer who is able to convey the materials in a way that everyone can understand. Although she has a bit of an accent, I don't think it was a problem for anyone. She will always start the lecture saying "any questions?" and she'll stop periodically to take any questions or clarify anything that you don't understand. I like that she did a lot of examples during lecture however I also wished that she had done a little more on the theory and proof behind the theorems we learn because otherwise it just becomes a matter of memorizing the formula and not understanding the logic behind what they are and why they work/why we use them etc. Also as a WARNING TO EVERYONE: the way that she lectures and does problems on the board makes it seems like math is very easy and this is true when you're just writing down whatever she's writing, BUT, don't not be fooled into this false sense of security because if you don't look over the problems and try to solve them yourself later you will be screwed over on the exams. And yes, her exams are brutal, but she does a review session in class before each one so be sure go over the problems she does in these sessions. She's always willing to help so if you need help go see her after class/during he office hour and if the hours doesn't work for you she also does OH by appointment. I want to also point out that for those who are not very mathematically inclined/are simply taking this course as a pre-req., you may fine her to be very monotonic and the lecture to be very dry. Daniela always comes in looking very tired/half dead (like all the time, sometimes I wonder if she's going to make it to the end of lecture) - DO NOT feed off this energy because it will make it very difficult for you to stay awake in class. Nonetheless, I would recommend Daniela to anyone who's thinking of taking calc 2.

Dec 2013

To those who have not yet gotten the memo: De Silva is one of the nicest and best math teachers you will have. Sometimes you have to see it to believe it. This semester was marred by the fact that De Silva was going through a brutal (her words) pregnancy, so she was always tired and sometimes would miss classes and/or office hours. Her dedication to the class despite this was truly extraordinary. The class covers chapters 8-11 in Baby Rudin, including Fourier Analysis, Multivariable functions, Differential forms and Measure/Lebesgue theory. Strengths: The strengths of the class include Prof. De Silva's own incredibly approachable and kind personality; her dedication to the class and her students; the tests, which are very manageable (see below); and the curve, which is very generous (I got around 5 points below average on each test, got a little above 50% on the problem sets and still got a B+). But the first point is really key. To give just a few examples: I had three midterms on one day so I asked De Silva if I could do hers on another day, and she agreed and even gave me the same test as the others; she almost always agreed to extensions for homework. Weaknesses: The one primary weakness may have to do more with the pregnancy than anything else, but the lectures themselves consisted pretty much exclusively of statements of theorems and their proofs, with little in terms of intuitive understanding and examples, though on a couple of occasions she did add a few of these. This is largely to be expected from a pure math course, but if you- like me- are still shaky regarding some of the concepts of Analysis I, you may be very lost in Analysis II. The material here is much, much harder and far less intuitive (even at the end of the semester, when I asked people "So…what exactly are differential forms?" they didn't have much to answer me). We also did not have recitations, which made the homework very difficult, though office hours were always helpful and De Silva doesn't object to you using online solutions as a last resort if needed (though these existed for only ~50% of the problems). However, all of the above is mitigated by the very generous curve, so I wouldn't worry about your grade too much unless you want straight As (or if you're very bad at memorization; see below).

Dec 2013

Seriously, do anything you can to take this professor. The previous reviews for her analysis class have said this, and I feel obliged to repeat it. This applies to any class she is teaching. She does a great job teaching the material. The second half of Rudin is even more dense than the first, and she does a great job picking out what is important. There were a few times this semester when she covered material differently than it was covered in Rudin, in which case she made lecture notes available online. De Silva seems like she’s constantly looking out for questions during lecture, and she’s also very helpful during office hours. She’s also a wonderful person who really seemed to want us all to understand the material. The exams are very fair and there are no surprises. She tells everyone exactly what to expect and posts a review sheet with all the important terms and theorems.

May 2013

This is the best possible way to learn Analysis I, especially for less intense math people, for the following reasons: 1) De Silva is a fantastic lecturer. She always makes sure to make the material accessible to people who digest things more slowly, and moves at a very reasonable pace. 2) She is also unbelievably nice, accessible, the kind of professor you just adore. Go to her office hours (which she'll always be happy to arrange), you'll understand. She's also very laid-back about assignments: at one point she allowed me to re-submit HW after she had explained the problems, the solutions had been posted, and weeks after the due date. She'll always respond quickly, and usually positively, to emails and requests. 3) Put quite simply, I can hardly believe there is a more manageable way of learning Analysis. The exams are easy to do reasonably well on, even if you don't know the material all that well (see below), the HW is more than manageable, and all in all the workload is not particularly heavy. (SEE THE NOTE BELOW ABOUT HW) To summarize: this is the perfect way to learn Analysis, and there is little doubt in my mind that other classes by De Silva would be similarly excellent. The one tragedy is that I hear she isn't teaching Analysis next year. TAKE THIS PROFESSOR IF AT ALL POSSIBLE!!!

Dec 2012

Professor De Silva is by far the BEST math professor I have had during my time at Columbia. She is an excellent lecturer and very good at both understanding and answering students' questions (both of which are often a weak point of math professors in my experience). The subject matter is definitely challenging, and having a good professor can be the difference between being totally lost and understanding exactly what is going on in the course, especially considering the textbook for the course (Rudin) is a bit intimidating, especially at first. Overall, Professor De Silva made a very challenging two semesters quite enjoyable. If you have an opportunity to take a class with her, you definitely should.

Apr 2012

AMAZING!!! I mean, Calc II was no walk in the park, but Professor De Silva helped explain everything and tried to make things very clear. She was even willing to help me out on a question on the final I was confused about. She was very pregnant when I took the course (this was back in Fall '08), and when she told us that she shouldn't be coming to class anymore and decided to hand the reins over to her husband temporarily, she gave birth that Saturday! Then, she returned to administer the final! How awesome was that? And she really cares about her students, answering questions in her awesome accent and trying to make things clear. If you can take this class with anyone, De Silva is the one.

Jan 2011

Daniela De Silva was one of my best math teachers I have had in college so far and I am a math major. Her class was actually enjoyable. She speaks english, is clear, and cared to teach the material. Any time I went to her office hours, she clearly explained any issue or question I had with the information. The midterms and final required work but were doable if you put the time in to learn the concepts she taught in class. If you have an option for calc II teachers- I would say take only her class.

Dec 2009

Calc. II isn't hard. What gives people problems is the open ended way in which problems are presented. The solutions either involve A LOT of thought or a simple comparison test... this is an intuitive mental process, something that can't really be taught at the pace in which the material is presented. Why else would it be that everyone is studying the same material, yet the range of grades on the midterms is sometimes as wide as 40-100%? Professor De Silva is a great teacher, but in order to do well you have to know what kind of student you are and what help you need. There's only so much so she can do in a class, and she understands that completely. She goes out of her way for office hours and one-on-ones with students... believe me, in my section there was one student who was a teacher's absolute worst nightmare, but she has the patience of a saint. She lays out the techniques and teaches you ways to recognize when to apply them. There is no other way to teach Calculus II. If you do badly on tests it's not really her fault and I've never heard anybody blame her (which is rare with a bunch of smart kids).

Dec 2009

Professor De Silva is one of the best math teachers I have ever had. She presents the material in an organized, easy to understand fashion and always makes herself available for extra help with extra office hours. This being said, Calc II is an extremely difficult course, and De Silva's is not an exception. Her tests get curved and homework counts as much as a midterm do, though, so it's not all bad. If you have a knack for math you will be more than okay, but if you struggle like I do be ready to do countless practice problems in preparation for her tests.

Dec 2009

Dr. De Silva is a great professor. She is extremely nice, her lectures are clear, and she is helpful during office hours. Her exams are reasonable and problem sets are graded leniently. However, this course definitely requires work, and it often took one or two trips to the math help room to complete the homework. Thankfully, she drops the lowest homework grade, meaning that if you keep up with your work during the semester, you won't have homework due during finals. Altogether, I can't imagine how this class could have been better. Math is not my strong suit but I came out of Daniela's class feeling much more confident about it.

May 2009

Calculus II has some hard material, but Daniela presented it effectively and efficiently. There was no race to finish the material, she was always willing to answer questions/host office hours, and help with homework. She went at a fast pace, and some outside work was required to do well on the exams. The curve at the end of the class took care of any problems you might have had on the midterms (I outright failed one of the midterms and got an A- in the class). Daniela's also just a very nice person with an adorable italian accent. I would highly recommend her for a calculus class.

Apr 2009

I shopped around amongst several Calc II professors when I finally happened upon Daniela. She was great! As mentioned by other students, she prefers that you finish your problem sets and learn from them rather than turn them in incomplete. This doesn't mean you get automatic extensions, or even easy extensions. It means if you show up to office hours, demonstrate that you've struggled with it and get help, she might give you extra time to apply that help and figure out the set. One quick note about the course: The two major topics are integration and series. You will learn a lot of different methods for working with both and the two major ideas in the course for each section are what the methods are and when to apply them. It can be fairly easy to lull yourself into a false sense of security by learning the methods one chapter at a time (with the exercises for each chapter focusing on each method) without learning how to recognize what to use when. The book has two chapters (strategy for integration and strategy for testing series) that she skipped during our term. These chapters pretty much just go over when to use what, and more importantly, have exercises where you have to figure out which method(s) to apply. Practicing on recognizing when to use which methods by working problems in these chapters is HIGHLY recommended as exam prep as this can be an art on its own.

Jan 2009

Daniela is hands down the best Calculus II teacher you're finding. She writes everything up on the board for you so that it's easier to take notes. The accent is mild and completely intelligible (unlike many other Mathematics professors). The workload and grading are fair in most respects; the class grade is also curved relatively generously. Midterms about 5 questions each, the final is 10 questions; nothing on them is an outright surprise, it has all been covered at some time during lectures. No crazy proofs in this class either. Use her recommended problems too.

Jan 2009

Calculus II is hard enough as it is without a good professor. TAKE IT WITH PROFESSOR DE SILVA. She's fantastic at explaining the concepts, goes through plenty of examples, will even solve homework problems in class, AND reviews material from Calculus I/AP Calculus in case people have forgotten or need a refresh. Her Italian accent is not difficult to understand at all, I loved it. She responds to emails and is very helpful during office hours. She's very understanding when it comes to extensions on homework assignments. Her tests are difficult but if you take notes in class and do the homework (and perhaps some additional practice problems) you should do fine. Just don't slack off.

Dec 2008

Daniela is absolutely amazing -- she's super cute and has a perfectly understandable accent. She is clear and extremely competent at explaining all the concepts, responds to all email questions and gives homework extensions where they're deserved. Her tests are relatively hard, but fair -- she gives you formulas from old classes that you no longer remember, and tells you before hand all the concepts you need. She cancelled the class before Thanksgiving :) and didn't test us on the information taught by the TA (she was giving birth, and so missed class) because it wasn't from her or her husband (another CU math professor who taught the end of the semester). No need to buy the solutions manuals, Daniela gives answers to the suggested problems before each midterm. Also her practice final is very similar to the final! If you study the concepts that are on that (as well as all the major class topics), you'll be fine. Grades from midterms come back in a day or two -- she gets the first midterm grade back for sure before the drop deadline. Daniela is such a gift -- if you're taking Calc II, take it from her. I'd guess that holds true for any other course she teaches.

Jan 2008

De Silva is so good! It's almost worth the trek to Barnard at 9:10 to go to her class. She explains topics clearly and concisely and does a TON of examples that really help with the homework and tests. She's also really approachable and won't look down on anyone who asks for clarification during class. De Silva is heartily recommended!