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Black History Month
2019 Honoree

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Carroll J. Diaz, Jr.

Carroll J. Diaz, Jr.

Associate Professor of Mathematics

Xavier University of Louisiana

 

Where are you from?

New Orleans, Louisiana

 

Please describe an experience (or 2) that helped you discover/ cultivate your interest in the mathematical sciences.

Growing up I didn’t love or hate math, it was just something that I did in school. No “ah ha” moments, no light bulbs, just math. That is, until 8th grade Algebra. I endured the experience of being a student of (as they were often referred to) “the hardest math teacher” at the school. After successfully completing all classes in the 8th grade I can specifically remember the feeling of accomplishment having completed the Algebra class. At that moment I realized that I could do math in spite of having the hardest math teach at the school. Today I realize that it wasn’t in spite of but rather thanks to my 8th grade math teacher.

My newfound interest in math grew into interests in Computer Science, Economics, and Physics and led to the completion of an undergraduate degree in Mathematics. From there I went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Mathematics where I became exposed to data analysis using statistical software packages. All my interests were coming together; using computer programming to analyze data from many different fields of study using mathematically rigorous techniques. Attending a seminar on careers in Statistics I learned of Biometry, the application of statistical analysis to biological data. My mathematical journey that first began with a fear of 8th grade Algebra culminated in my receiving a Ph.D. in Biometry.

 

What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your career in the mathematical sciences?

My proudest accomplishment is having a career as a University professor where on a daily basis I have the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of others through teaching, mentoring, advising, and sometimes just listening.

 

Please share some words of wisdom/inspiration.

Some mathematical concepts require repetition and practice; others require abstract thinking and analysis. While journeying down your career path in the mathematical sciences open all doors and keep them open so as to not miss out on the beauty of mathematics and its applications.