Oct 02, 2022

Math Monday: Highlighting Hispanic and Latinx Mathematicians in the Classroom

This Math Monday, we’re celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with profiles of three amazing Hispanic and Latinx mathematicians that you can bring into your classroom.


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


Federico Ardila

Federico Ardila is a math professor at San Francisco State University. In addition to researching combinatorics, Ardila is a DJ and advocate for inclusion in mathematics.


Watch the first 6 minutes of this video to learn more! 

Or, read Ardila's Q&A in Quanta Magazine.

Video Discussion Questions:

  • Ardila says, “I was seen as a talented kid and that’s kind of a messy thing - this idea of talent.” What do you think he means by that?
  • What is combinatorics, based on Ardila’s description?
  • What privileges does Argila say impacted his journey to be a mathematician?
  • Ardila quotes Rochelle Gutierrez saying, “It’s really important that we learn how to play the game and also how to change the game.” How does Argila relate to that quote? How do you relate to that quote?

Bonus: Ardila explains how the “perfect shuffle” works in this video from Numberphile.


Omayra Ortega

Omayra Ortega is an assistant professor of mathematics & statistics at Sonoma State University. She blends math, statistics, and public health tools to tackle emerging health issues in a field called mathematical epidemiology. Additionally, she is committed to broadening the participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM and mentoring students through the challenges of academia (source: Ortega's website).


Watch the first 7 minutes of this video to learn more!

Or, read this short profile.

Video Discussion Questions:

  • What experience(s) helped Ortega find her career path?
  • What specific math field does Ortega research? How does she describe it?
  • What challenge(s) did Ortega face in becoming a mathematician?
  • What does Ortega say is her proudest accomplishment?


Maricela Cruz

Maricela Cruz is an assistant biostatics investigator with a PhD in statistics from the University of California Irvine. Her research focuses on developing novel statistical methods to assess and evaluate the impact of complex health interventions. 


Read this short profile to learn more!

Discussion Questions:

  • According to the profile, Cruz “felt a lot of pressure to do well in school.” Can you relate to that feeling? Why or why not?
  • How does Cruz use mathematics in her career?
  • Cruz says, “Navigating institutions that have systematically excluded groups of people can be taxing, especially for people from one or more of these groups.” What do you think she means by that?
  • What advice does Cruz give to college students?


Mathematician of the Week

One way you could use these profiles is to introduce a Mathematician of the Week. If you pull from these previous posts, you’ll have Mathematician of the Week covered for the whole semester!


Looking for more? 


⟶ Have you checked out the new NGPF Math page yet?

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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