Spring Opportunities Workshop 2023

An Accidental Mathematician: Stories of a Journey Through STEM-Land as a Minority

Abstract: Being a scientist or mathematician can be challenging, and being a minority mathematician even more so. My path hasn’t always been easy, but it has been worthwhile and fulfilling. However, in some sense, I believe that I ended up where I am through a series of fortunate events - that in fact I am an accidental mathematician. Through a series of personal stories, I will share some strategies and lessons I’ve learned that have helped me in my career. Some of these lessons include: 1) the importance of preparation, 2) finding the right balance of technical and interpersonal skills, 3) practicing persistence and patience, 4) valuing and respecting your own time and 5) the realization that success requires risk-taking and going outside one’s comfort zone. All of these, will be (by necessity) through the lens of an underrepresented minority in a highly technical field, but I hope that they are useful to others as well.

Date & Time

January 12, 2023 | 11:45am – 12:55pm


Simonyi Hall 101 and Remote Access


Juan Meza


University of California, Merced