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Challenging the Under-representation of women in mathematics: The York Tensor Scholars Program


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Dr. Lidia Gonzalez, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science presents "Challenging the Under-representation of women in mathematics: The York Tensor Scholars Program"

Research has shown that 'not belonging' is a prevalent theme in the accounts of undergraduate students of mathematics especially those traditionally under-represented in the field such as women who, because of social/historical realities, may struggle to build a mathematics identity. This may contribute to the fact that women leave the field at a rate of 2.5 times that of men. Yet, supportive environments may counter these realities.  The York Tensor Scholars Program, was a mathematics circle aimed at challenging the under-representation of women in mathematics. Students attended monthly talks given by women mathematicians later meeting with the speaker in a social setting to delve further into the material and addresses issues of interest to them. In this talk I share results of a research study focused on the students’ developing beliefs around the nature of mathematics, who can and does do mathematics and on their identities as doers of mathematics.

Dr. Lidia Gonzalez is an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at York College. There, she also serves as math program coordinator and organizes the Math and Computer Science Club, a series of academic talks on mathematics, mathematics education and computer science open to all interested students, faculty and staff. She is part of the team that organizes York’s annual Women in Math and Computer Science Day which is going into its 11th year. Additionally, Dr. Gonzalez teaches in the Urban Education Program at the CUNY Graduate Center from which she earned her doctoral degree. Dr. Gonzalez’s research interests focus broadly on the teaching and learning of mathematics with the aim of improving the educational experiences of urban students. More specifically, she is interested in the teaching of mathematics for social justice, the development of mathematics identity and issues of equity and diversity in mathematics education. Her most recent publication, "Between paralysis and empowerment: Action in mathematics for social justice work" appeared in the New England Mathematics Journal which received the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Publication Award in 2019. She along with her colleagues, Dr. Shawna Chapman Brown and Dr. Juan Battle have an article coming out later this year in the journal High School Science and Mathematics titled, "Mathematics identity and achievement among Black students” which examines the impact of mathematics identity on the mathematics achievement of secondary school students by exploring data from the High School Longitudinal Survey. On a more personal note, together with her partner, she is the proud parent of a 6-year old girl who just started 1st grade. The three of them enjoy impromptu dance parties, visits to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, the Prospect Park Zoo, and just about any bookstore.