Our Stories

Our Stories

Mathematicians will share their formative undergraduate experiences and how those experiences informed the trajectories of their careers. It can be hard to imagine your future, and that makes it hard to plan for it. We hope you’ll be able to see yourself in these stories, and that seeing mathematicians who were once where you are (no, really) will help you imagine and plan for your future.


  • Dr. Alexander Barrios (Visiting Assistant Professor at Carleton College)

  • Dr. Renee Brady-Nicholls (Research Instructor at Moffitt Cancer Center)

  • Stella Sue Gastineau (Graduate student at Boston College)

  • Dr. April Harry (Data scientist at Rover.com)

  • André Hernández-Espiet (Graduate student at Rutgers University)

  • Dr. Alicia Prieto Langarica (Associate Professor at Youngstown State University)

  • Dr. Li-Mei Lim (Assistant Professor at Boston University, Executive Director of PROMYS)

  • Dr. Marissa Kawehi Loving (NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Georgia Institute of Technology)

  • Edna Jones (Graduate student at Rutgers University)

  • Sofía Martínez Alberga (Graduate student at Purdue University)

  • Alvaro Pintado (Graduate student at University of Pennsylvania)

  • Dr. Emily Riehl (Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University)

Summaries of Talks - Click Here

If you are planning to attend these talks, please use this information to decide which parallel talks you will attend. Each talk will last 15 minutes.

Set 1 (1:05pm Pacifc/4:05pm Eastern):

  • Dr. Renee Brady-Nicholls received her Bachelor degree Mathematics from Florida A&M University. Moving from an HBCU to North Carolina State University to earn her Masters and PhD was an interesting experience, to say the least. Dr. Brady-Nicholls will discuss the culture shock she experienced upon arriving at NCSU and how she overcame imposter syndrome. She’ll also discuss her current role in the Integrated Mathematical Oncology department at Moffitt Cancer Center and how the experiences of her past are helping to shape her future.

  • André Hernández-Espiet grew up in Puerto Rico and attended school there through his undergraduate degree, which he obtained at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. Throughout these studies he was able to take advantage of many opportunities, such as participating in three different REU's, and presenting in conferences locally as well as at the national level. As a consequence of this research as well as research done at the University of Puerto Rico, André was able to obtain two Outstanding Poster prizes from the Joint Mathematics Meetings. This talk will explore how these experiences, among others encountered in his undergraduate studies, helped him in his process to successfully apply to graduate school in order to arrive at Rutgers University, where he is now currently studying for his PhD in number theory.

  • Dr. Li-Mei Lim was a math major at MIT and earned her PhD in mathematics from Brown. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate careers, she spent her summers as a counselor at PROMYS, a summer program for high school students at Boston University. After meandering through a few different academic jobs, she now is a faculty member at Boston University working for PROMYS year-round. Her experiences in graduate school and at PROMYS showed her the importance of belonging to a mathematical community--something she is excited to share with students in her classes, participants in the summer program, and you.

  • Sofía Martínez Alberga is originally from Southern California and completed her bachelors of science in pure mathematics at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), where she worked for the university’s academic resource center and science ambassador program and participated in the math department events (Math club, Spring Research, AWM, etc.). During her third undergraduate year she attended several conferences and as a result attended a summer research program at the Fields Institute at the University of Toronto. After graduating from UCR Sofía participated in the EDGE program in preparation for her graduate career at Purdue University, where after completing her first-year course load she served as a research assistant for the MSRI-UP 2020 program.

Set 2 (2:00pm Pacific/4:05pm Eastern):

  • Stella Sue Gastineau is a 5th year graduate student at Boston College, doing research in Representation theory and the Local Langlands Program. Their high school and undergraduate experiences showed them the importance of belonging to a community of supportive peers. In graduate school, they made a concerted effort to build and strengthen these communities so that others could benefit as they had. Currently they are an active participant and frequent leader in several groups whose aim is to provide social and academic support for women and queer mathematicians in the Boston area.

  • Edna Jones is a fifth-year mathematics Ph.D. student at Rutgers, studying number theory. She did her undergraduate degree at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, a small engineering school in Indiana. Over the years, she has used internships, research experiences, and math outreach work to explore her interests. Because she knew that she wanted similar support in graduate school as she received at Rose-Hulman, Edna looked for a friendly, supportive environment in a graduate program.

  • Alvaro Pintado will be a graduate student at University of Pennsylvania next fall. He started his undergraduate degree as an engineering student. While excelling in his mathematics classes, Alvaro struggled with his engineering classes, which weighed down his GPA. He delayed his graduation one year to instead major in mathematics. He did research at an REU program, and has now enrolled in a master's program in mathematics at University of Pennsylvania.

  • Dr. Alicia Prieto Langarica started her undergraduate school in Mexico at the Center for Research in Mathematics and after 3 years, she did a Summer Research Experience for Undergraduate Students at the University of Texas at Dallas where she decided to finish her degree. She did her Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Arlington in Mathematical Biology and is currently a professor at Youngstown State University where she works with students on research project in a wide variety of topics.

Set 3 (2:55pm Pacific/5:55pm Eastern):

  • Dr. Alexander Barrios is a number theorist who is originally from Hialeah, FL. He received an associate's from Miami Dade Community College and then transferred to Brown University, where he received his Sc.B. in mathematics. As an undergraduate, he participated in three REUs, including MSRI-UP, which introduced him to the fascinating realm of number theory. He would go on to earn his Ph.D. in mathematics from Purdue University. From 2014-2018, Dr. Barrios was the lead instructor for Purdue's Minority Engineering Program's Summer Camps for grade 6-12 students and more recently has led undergraduate research projects as part of the Pomona Research in Mathematics Experience (PRiME) and MSRI-UP in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

  • Dr. April Harry earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Xavier University of Louisiana, and a PhD in Statistics from Purdue University. As an undergraduate she participated in a number of programs for underrepresented students interested in graduate studies, including Minority Access to Research Careers, McNair, MSRI-UP, Math Alliance, and EDGE. Her experience as a first generation college student at a historically black institution taught her that a supportive environment is critical for nurturing growth, a lesson that she carries into her career as a data scientist today.

  • Dr. Marissa Kawehi Loving was born and raised in Hawai'i as the second oldest of 12 kids. She pursued her undergraduate studies at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo where she earned a BA in mathematics and a BS in computer science in May 2013. As an undergrad, Dr. Loving participated in the DIMACS/DIMATIA REU at Rutgers as well as the MURF Undergrad Research Program at Caltech. She was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in her senior year of undergrad, which supported her during grad school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Loving became the first Native Hawaiian woman to earn a PhD in mathematics when she graduated from UIUC in August 2019. She is now an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Math at Georgia Tech.

  • Dr. Emily Riehl lived in California, Massachusetts, and Minnesota, before attending junior high and high school in Normal, Illinois. She earned a BA in mathematics in 2006 from Harvard, a masters in 2007 from Cambridge University, and a PhD in 2011 from the University of Chicago. She is currently an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore working in higher category theory and homotopy type theory. She will talk about creating space for yourself and others in the classroom through the radical act of asking questions.