I am a black high school math teacher candidate and my interest in math has been revived in the past few months since I began preparing for the California single subject math exams.

While earning a PhD in math is a noble pursuit, my interest is in focusing on applying math to real world issues.

After, I complete my required math exams, I hope to continue studying higher level math, but I’m not sure what I’ll do after that. Sure I’ll be a math teacher, but I’m beginning to envision a future where I can use math on the job.

Is there anyone that can offer me some insight into job options that would allow me to do that outside of academia? Right now, the thought of working (and more importantly paying) for a PhD level math education is not very appealing and not feasible for me at this point. I’m looking to make a contribution to mathematics in another way.

Thanks Dr. Goins and any other minorities for paving the way in mathematics for me and other students.

]]>Thank you so much for writing this and posting your thoughts! I am a mixed race women in Physics, tenure-track and an undergraduate focused university – and much of this resonated with me.

Louise

]]>I am only entering the discussion after the publishing of Amy Harmon’s NY Times article about you and your decision, titled “For a Black Mathematician, What It’s Like to Be the ‘Only One’” (2/18/19).

I am an African American man who graduated from Carnegie Mellon in Applied Math (’76) and went on to a doctorates in Instructional Technology in education. Even (maybe especially) on the undergraduate level, the attitudes of intellectual superiority were deadly in the technical fields. When the perception of superiority is based on skin color, we call it racism.

Your action of finding a safe, belonging environment in which to explore math and foster student growth is not only courageous, but revealing. No where have I seen responses from the Mathematical establishment recognizing your action of survival as a reflection of the closed, unwelcoming, exclusive environment that most math communities exude. Here is a problem that is driving colleagues away, but has not been honestly recognized by the mathematical status quo as their problem as much as ours.

We need better preparation of undergraduates in mathematics. This preparation must include social preparation as well, in areas like stereotype threat. But we also need the dominant math community to realize it’s damaging role, starting with examining their implicit bias.

Ms. Harmon’s wonderful article, ends quoting you saying “I didn’t write it to tell people what should happen,” he said. “I wrote it to tell people what could happen.” It could have easily had the added tagline: “I am telling you what happened and is happening. What will keep it from continuing to happen?’

Akbar Herndon

]]>I just read the NYT report about you and looked up your work. I think you are a better mathematician than 90% of all mathematicians out there. For sure you are better than me, I wouldn’t be able to make heads or tails of your Langlands program research had my life depended on it. But I also think you made the mistake of picking this one area of math that’s meant for some 1% of mathematicians. Had you done something else, you would probably have a lot more success and respect. It’s not just you; pick anybody who’s made a distinction in some other areas of mathematics, say, Martin Hairer or Alessio Figalli, and throw him into Langlands program, he would at best make mediocre contributions or, more likely, flop completely. One needs to find one’s own niche.

Also, I’ll take private Pomona over public Purdue in a heartbeat. Better students, better pay. I don’t see why you think that’s a step down.

Sincerely,

Also a minority mathematician

For instance, there is data to show that people with disabilities have higher rates of unemployment of any minority group, and even higher in some subgroups. But people with disabilities are also excluded from those statistics in various ways so that the actual rate of unemployment is under-counted.

What is the actual unemployment rate of people with disabilities? How does this correlate to economic impacts on persons with disabilities and on local communities? Estimates in some areas may be that 20-25 percent of the population has a “disability” by federal definition. How are those areas affected by having so many people unemployed or underemployed but excluded from the official statistics? Etc. ]]>