About Us

About the Organizers of OURFA²M²

Ashka Dalal

NSF Grant Co-Principal Investigator

Programming Committee - Chair

Business Committee - Member

Ashka is a senior at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (a.k.a. Rose or RHIT). At Rose, through the R² program, she anticipates a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics with minors in Spanish and Music and a Master’s in Engineering Management by the end of her 4 years there. After undergrad she hopes to pursue a PhD in math. This ambition has been supported through a love for math and incredible opportunities, including: a role as the current President of the RHIT AWM chapter, volunteer at high school math competitions hosted by Rose, tutor (math focused) at the RHIT Learning Center, researcher at the 2022 YSU-BUMP and 2023 UConn Summer REU programs, and a mentor for Rose Prime. Ashka has made connections with people in the math community that have granted her these opportunities and have allowed her to feel safe and a sense of belonging in the community. As a bi, genderqueer woman of color, she hopes that she can be a connection that helps others find the opportunities to support their ambitions and the same safety and belonging that she has felt and found in mathematics.

Gavi Dhariwal

Communications Committee - Vice Chair

Programming Committee - Member

Gavi graduated from the University of Redlands in December of 2022 with a BS in Mathematics and Computer Science, and is currently working as a Technical Data Analyst for a grid consulting company. As an international student at a small liberal arts college, he didn’t have the easiest time exploring math outside of Redlands via REUs and conferences. His first such experience was OURFA2M2 2020. The unorthodox structure of the conference and the connections he made at the conference opened his eyes to the broader American mathematical community and opportunities. This led him to spend two research summers at Redlands and two impactful semesters at the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program, where he deepened his connection with math and broadened his mathematical network. 

Gavi feels strongly about the common fear/hate against math that exists in the general populace. He believes that most people never get to see the real gems of math that the few of us (who pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree in math) get to cherish, especially people from marginalized communities. Through OURFA2M2, he aims to reduce this fear amongst the people he meets, whether it’s by sharing experiences, or by making people aware of opportunities in the math community.

Bowen Li

Communications Committee - Chair

Business Committee - Member

NSF Grant Evaluator

Bowen graduated from Carleton College in June of 2023 with a BA in Mathematics, and is currently studying and doing research through Budapest Semester in Mathematics Academic Year Program. His research interests are combinatorics, graph theory, number theory, and quantum computing. He is also an avid problem solver. He actively participates in the problem-solving group at Carleton and also Putnam and Konhauser Competitions. He had his first research experience at Polymath Jr. REU. He is also an alum of both Budapest Semester in Mathematics and Mathematics Education. He also thinks of mathematical teaching as an important part of his mathematical journey. He has been teaching AP Calculus and IB Mathematics since his freshman year. At Carleton, he is a tutor at Math Skill Center. He also loves to record videos on mathematical concepts he finds intriguing. He hopes to share his joys for mathematics with more people. He attended the OURFA²M² 2020 conference, was moved by the stories current mathematicians told of their struggles in mathematics, and is inspired to join the organizing committee for OURFAM2 2022. As an international student, he understands the difficulties and struggles in learning mathematics international students face. He wants to share his experience and let people from different backgrounds feel more welcomed in the mathematical community. 

Zoe Markman

NSF Grant Co-Principal Investigator

Programming Committee - Member

Communications Committee - Member

Zoe is a junior studying Mathematics and English Literature at Swarthmore College. She is the Assistant Producer of “Mathematically Uncensored,” a podcast about people of color in mathematics, and is on the board of GeMS (Gender Minorities in Math and Statistics) at her home institution. Zoe has attended both the Summer@ICERM REU and the Mathily-EST REU. After many years of doubting whether she belonged in mathematics, Zoe hopes to work with OURFA²M² to create a math community where everyone can be their true selves.

tahda queer

Business Committee - Member

Programming Committee - Vice Chair

tahda is a trans Hakka exile and a first-generation undergraduate, currently studying math and philosophy at City University of New York. ta has conducted research on topology and probability theory at the UCSB Mathematics Summer Research Program, on algebraic combinatorics and number theory at QED (Queens Experience in Discrete Mathematics), on extremal combinatorics and graph theory at SUAMI (Summer Undergraduate Applied Mathematics Institute), and is always interested in exploring more. ta also enjoys cooking spicy vegan food, spending time with kino (the cat in the picture), and providing a safe space for new friends with marginalized experiences. Communities like OURFA²M² and ENYGMMA (Empowering New York Gender Minority Mathematicians) offer tahda a sense of belonging, and ta is very grateful for the opportunity to contribute as a co-organizer here.

Jenna Race

Programming Committee - Member

Communications Committee - Member

Jenna Race is a non-traditional first-generation college student. She studies mathematics at Century College in White Bear Lake, MN. In 2021, she was awarded the Century College Foundation Mathematics Scholarship. For two years Jenna worked as a peer math tutor in the Century College Math Resource Center. In addition to being a student, Jenna works full-time for Metro Transit as an Associate Communications Specialist.

Jenna’s path to math was not linear. She started and stopped college several times. She eventually resumed college in her early 30's, but studied business rather than math. She decided to change majors to math after taking College Algebra and Statistics. She credits her success to the support she received from her professors and mentors, and helpful friends from Math Twitter. She was especially inspired by attending the OURFA²M² conferences in 2020 and 2021.

Luke J Seaton

NSF Grant Co-Principal Investigator

Business Committee - Chair

Communications Committee- Member

Luke is a first-year mathematics PhD student at Michigan State University. His past affiliations include Washington University in St. Louis, Grand Challenge Scholars Program, and Budapest Semesters in Mathematics, and he had his first math research experience with the Michigan State University REU in 2018. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Louisiana Tech University in May 2020 at the onset of COVID-19. While struggling to stay in touch with the mathematics community during his gap year, he attended the OURFA²M² 2020 conference and was inspired to apply to more math programs after meeting other LGBTQ+ mathematicians. As a transgender man, Luke hopes to become the LGBTQ+ representation in math that he did not see as an undergraduate. He is excited to continue working with the OURFA²M² organizing team for a second year to provide valuable resources to undergraduate students.

Salina Tecle

Business Committee - Vice Chair

Communications Committee - Member

Salina Tecle is an Eritrean-American undergrad student currently studying Mathematics and Data Science at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. She graduated from Northern Virginia Community College in 2022 with an Associate of Science degree in Mathematics and is currently a research and outreach intern in the Mason Experimental Geometry Lab, where she helps facilitate math education activities for young students and math research projects with her faculty mentors and fellow undergrad researchers. She was a participant in the 2023 CURE summer program run by the Intercollegiate Biomathematics Alliance at Illinois State University and is currently working on predicting the future population of certain fish species using integral projection methods. She was furthermore part of the 2023 Mathematics Climate Research Network program by the American Institute of Mathematics at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Salina is excited to be part of a diverse and interconnected math community and do her part in welcoming new mathematicians to OURFA2M2.

Lee Trent

NSF Grant Principal Investigator

Chair of the Committee of the Whole

Programming Committee- Member

Business Committee- Member

Lee is a second-year PhD student at the University of Minnesota. She earned a BS in math from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, with minors in German, political science, and astronomy/astrophysics. Her mathematical (and adjacent) interests are in number theory, graph theory, voting theory, mathematical art, astronomy, math education, and math cognition. Some formative experiences of her undergraduate career include being a counselor at Rose-Hulman AMP and PROMYS, TA'ing for The Art of Problem Solving, participating in the REU at Grand Valley State University, studying and researching with Budapest Semesters in Mathematics and Mathematics Education, and working on various research projects, as well as, of course, starting OURFA²M².  At the same time, her undergraduate record includes many failed classes and having to drop out for a year and a half, all due to health concerns, so she understands being forced into a nonlinear academic path and the difficulties of getting back onto a track that works for someone's own unique situation. 

In grad school, she has been a counselor at the Ross Mathematics Program, she TA's for university math classes, and she is a problem writer for the Minnesota State High School Math League.  She has been an active member of oSTEM for many years, including being an officer in both the Rose-Hulman and University of Minnesota chapters, and was awarded the oSTEM Global STEM Service Award. As a queer and genderqueer woman who manages chronic illness and comes from a background without much financial support, Lee has seen many angles of the fight to make a place for yourself in mathematics when you aren’t what people expect a mathematician to be. She hopes to make that fight a little easier for those who come after her. 

Past Organizers

Shreya Ahirwar (2021-2022)

Last updated: May 2022

Shreya (they/she) is an undergraduate in their senior year at Mount Holyoke College. They are an international student from Kolkata, India. One of the first experiences that had a big impact on the way she sees her identity as a student of colour in math was at the Advancing Inquiry and Inclusion in Mathematics Undergraduate Program (AIM UP) in 2020, where she worked on a project involving posets and parking functions. AIM UP was a research program aimed at underrepresented and minority students and it deeply impacted the way she views her role as a researcher, collaborator, and the space she takes up in a classroom. Since then, she has participated in the Fields Undergraduate Research Program in 2021, where she worked on the localisation game played on graphs. Earlier this summer, she was also a guest student researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where she studied fisheries models that display chaotic behaviour with riddled basins of attraction. She is passionate about helping build spaces that provide support and work on activism for minority communities. OURFA2M2 is important to her because she hopes other minority students get to experience feeling seen and worthy, the way she did when she finally found her community. 

Alvaro Carbonero (2020-2023)

Last updated: July 2023

Alvaro is a graduate student at the University of Waterloo (UW) in Canada. After immigrating to the US from Peru at the age of 18, he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), and currently he is working on a masters in Combinatorics and Optimization at UW. The program that developed Alvaro’s affinity for research was an REU program at Lafayette College. He is eager to help other students have similar experiences. The success of this conference is important to Alvaro because, as an immigrant with a late start in his mathematical career, he knows that many difficulties arise when joining the field.

Brittany Gelb (2020 - 2023)

Last updated: June 2023

Brittany is a PhD student in mathematics at Rutgers University, where she is the recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and a Rutgers Presidential Fellowship. She graduated in 2021 from Muhlenberg College, a small liberal arts college in Pennsylvania. She is interested in topological data analysis, dynamical systems, and machine learning. In summer 2022, she interned at NASA Langley Research Center. During undergrad, she did REU programs at DIMACS and Lafayette College, studied abroad at Budapest Semesters in Mathematics, and did outreach as president of a chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics. Brittany helped organize OURFA²M² three times, and she found it rewarding to help other people recognize their potential for a career in mathematics, no matter where or when they were starting.

Michael N Johnson III (2021-2023)

Last updated: July 2023 

Michael N Johnson III is currently a graduate student, an Associate Instructor of Record, and an (IGWC-UE) Union Representative of the Mathematics Department at IU. He is also the Resident Mathematics Tutor at the Center for Veterans and Military Students at IU. He first began his venture into academia as a 21-year-old at Grand Rapids Community College. After getting an associate degree, dropping out, and failing out along the way, it culminated in him receiving his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at Indiana University 12 years later.

While at community college he began a tutoring program to serve other non-traditional and first-generation students which was his first attempt at giving back to the community that had helped him. In his return to university during the pandemic, with the barriers and lack of community he had felt, he was able to find respite and attend OURFA2M2. Through the information provided and the sense of community, it inspired him to pursue graduate school. Since then, he has been a part of the Directed Reading Program at IU, worked as a research assistant, was a 2021 SEISMIC Scholar, a 2021 Polymath Jr. REU participant and presenter (JMM accepted talk), and helped organize OURFA²M² 2021. 

Amaury Miniño (2020-2021)

Last updated: December 2020

Amaury is a Dominican first-year PhD student in Mathematics at Colorado State University. his research interests lie in combinatorics. The programs that were most influential during his time in Florida Atlantic University's undergraduate program were the F-LEARN program and MSRI-UP. He has a passion for math communication, and for introducing students to research opportunities. He has mentored students who want to engage with research in STEM, and recognizes the importance of having a strong support network. This conference is important to Amaury because of the difficulty he had in initially finding resources when he started his math degree. He wants this conference to reach students who want to engage with the mathematical community.

Vanessa Sun (2020-2023)

Last updated: July 2023

Vanessa is a Brazilian-Taiwanese-American artist, mathematician, and scientist. She is a geochemistry PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and studio art, with minors in political science and media studies, at Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY). Vanessa is also a proud alum of the 2020 MSRI-UP REU program and interned at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Vanessa is passionate about sharing resources with undergraduate math students and in creating a more inclusive and diverse mathematics community. OURFA2M2 is important to her because she did not have mentorship nor guidance on opportunities and resources to learn about research mathematics prior to MSRI-UP. She hopes that students with similar backgrounds will feel welcome and encouraged to pursue research careers.