Jun 04, 2023

Math Monday: 3 LGBTQ+ Mathematicians to Highlight in Your Classroom

This Math Monday, we’re celebrating Pride Month with profiles of three amazing LGBTQ+ mathematicians you can bring into your classroom.

Find these profiles - and 30 more! - in the Math in Action slide deck!


Dr. Kimberly Ayers

Dr. Kimberly Ayers is an Assistant Professor at California State University San Marcos, doing research in dynamical systems and ergodic theory (from her website).

Watch this interview with Dr. Ayers from LGBT Tech.


Headshot of Kimberly Ayers, a light-skinned Asian woman with long dark hair. She is wearing a striped shirt and has a tattoo of the symbol for pi.


Possible Discussion Questions

  • How does Ayers describe the role of using labels? What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of labeling your identity?
  • According to Ayers, what is it like to be a math professor?
  • How does Ayers describe her journey into mathematics?
  • Ayers describes how she always loved to do logic puzzles, but didn’t realize that was a type of mathematical thinking. What hobbies or interests do you have? Are those hobbies valued at school? Why or why not?
  • “It’s a matter of confidence for me to stick with it…if I stick with it long enough, I’ll eventually get through it.” Do you feel that way about math? Why or why not?


Dr. Juliette Bruce

Dr. Juliette Bruce is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Mathematics at Brown University, studying commutative algebra and algebraic geometry. She also organizes a number of conferences, including those devoted to promoting gender equity and supporting LGBTQ+ mathematicians (from her website).

Watch Bruce introduce herself in MEET a Mathematician. 


Headshot of Juliette Bruce, a light-skinned person with long blonde hair. She is wearing glasses and a polka dot v-neck shirt


Possible Discussion Questions

  • What sparked Bruce’s interest in mathematics?
  • What kind of math does Bruce do? How does she compare that to high school math?
  • Bruce describes failing her first college math test. What was the significance of that experience?
  • What supports did Bruce leverage to handle the challenges of coming out while working as a mathematician?


Dr. Mohamed Omar 

Dr. Mohamed Omar is an associate professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College who does research in combinatorics and algebra. He has worked to make rich math experiences more broadly accessible and to promote diversity in math, including through his youtube channel, participation in the BEAM program, and involvement in high school math competitions. 

Watch his video about 3 Tips for Grad School Prep or read this short profile from the University of Waterloo. 


Image of Mohamed Omar, a medium-skinned Black man. He is wearing a tan suit, a purple shirt and tie, and glasses.

Possible Discussion Questions

  • What are the benefits of going to a professor’s office hours in college?
  • Why did Dr. Omar say it was a mistake for him to take more graduate-level math courses in college?
  • Summarize: What are Dr. Omar’s 3 tips to get ready for a math graduate program?
  • Omar describes how he initially felt disheartened by his rejection from math graduate programs, but then he reflected on what he could have done differently. Describe a time when you when experienced rejection or failure, and then were able to grow from that. What was that experience like for you?


Additional Resources

Check out these additional resources:

About the Author

Kathryn Dawson

Kathryn (she/her) is excited to join the NGPF team after 9 years of experience in education as a mentor, tutor, and special education teacher. She is a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in policy analysis and management and has a master's degree in education from Brooklyn College. Kathryn is looking forward to bringing her passion for accessibility and educational justice into curriculum design at NGPF. During her free time, Kathryn loves embarking on cooking projects, walking around her Seattle neighborhood with her partner and dog, or lounging in a hammock with a book.

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