Life + Arts

FIVE MINUTES: Math student asks for more diversity

Erika Moyer: You’re a graduate student. Where did you get your bachelor’s degree?

Letty Reza: I did my undergraduate work here at UH.

Moyer: What made you decide to go to graduate school?

Reza: My senior year I did an undergraduate research project ‘hellip; I really enjoyed it, and it made me decide to go on to get my Ph.D.

Moyer: What are you involved in other than coursework?

Reza: I am chapter president of Pi Mu Epsilon, the national honor society in mathematics.

Moyer: What does Pi Mu Epsilon do?

Reza: We regularly have math Jeopardy and are planning to hold an induction for incoming members. We will be electing officers soon.

Moyer: Is there anything you’d like to change in the Math Department?

Reza: I would like to see more diversity in our Math Department. I am one of three Hispanic students, and there are no African-Americans in our graduate program. Last year in the U.S., there were 1,200 Ph.D.’s awarded in math. Twenty-two of (the recipients) were African-American and only 19 were Hispanic. Even a few students can change national numbers significantly.

Moyer: What advice can you offer other undergraduate students involved in mathematics?

Reza: Get involved in research, talk to professors as much as possible, get involved with other math organizations and try to work with peers. Also, tutoring is a great way to keep material fresh.

Moyer: What are your favorite hobbies?

Reza: I love to work out, which includes playing basketball and running. I’m currently teaching myself how to speak French. I also like to scope around hardware stores. I’m like a kid in a candy store.

Moyer: What is your guilty pleasure?

Reza: I would have to say coffee. I can’t go a day without it. It’s by far my biggest temptation.

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