To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Statistics Alexander Diaz-Lopez wanted to address Hispanic and Latino/a representation in mathematics.
The result is Lathisms.org (Latin@s and Hispanics in the Mathematical Sciences), a website that recognizes the work of 31 talented Hispanic and Latino mathematicians. Diaz-Lopez, whose research interests are in algebra and combinatorics, is helming the project alongside three colleagues: Pamela Harris, an assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at Williams College; Gabriel Sosa Castillo, a visiting assistant professor of mathematics at Amherst College; and Alicia Prieto Langarica, an assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at Youngstown State University.
The site showcases the contributions of one Hispanic and Latin@ mathematician each day for a month. Featured mathematicians are honored with a photo and a short bio that describes their contributions. By highlighting these mathematicians, Diaz-Lopez is hopeful that younger Latino/a and Hispanic students will feel inspired to pursue a higher education in a field where they are vastly underrepresented.
“[Students of color] do better in their field of study when they see themselves represented," he says.
Rather than solely focusing on senior Hispanic and Latin@ mathematicians with long lists of achievements, Lathisms features a diverse pool of academics that includes a variety of men and women.
“We wanted to be inclusive,” says Diaz-Lopez. “We are showcasing mathematicians at every level of their careers.”
To help promote this cause, the American Mathematical Society — the world’s largest organization devoted to mathematical research and education — is using its Facebook and Twitter pages to promote Lathisms’ daily mathematician. Diaz-Lopez hopes this exposure on social media will help Lathisms’s message reach out to younger generations, particularly undergraduates.
“We’re very happy with the result so far,” says Diaz-Lopez, who hopes that Lathisms can become an annual venture.