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Black History Month
2023 Honoree

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Lateefah Id-Deen

Lateefah Id-Deen

Associate Professor of Mathematics Education

Kennesaw State University


Where are you from?

I am originally from Oakland, California.  Oakland is the home of The Black Panther Party, an organization that empowered Black citizens. Their messages continues to inspire my work. I also represent Atlanta, GA, where I attended W.D. Muhammad Schools and taught mathematics at Woodward Academy.


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

I have had several experiences that helped me discover my interest in mathematics, but it was the people in those moments who I’ll never forget. These individuals include Sis Saaliha in elementary school, Mr. Harris in middle school, Bro Yusuf in high school, Dr. Hartsfield in college, and too many others to name. I experienced firsthand that what a teacher expects from a student can have a powerful effect. I now pay it forward to my students.


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

I have a unique opportunity to pursue my passion and am honored to walk in my purpose. My proudest accomplishments include 1) being the first in my family to earn a Ph.D., 2) entering my first teaching job in the Spring semester when my students had five substitute teachers. This position showed me the importance of prioritizing student-teachers relationships in the classroom as well as honoring student voices. This was one of my most challenging professional moments as a teacher. Still, it will always impact how I engage with students in mathematics classrooms, 3) earning tenure as a mathematics teacher educator and researcher, and 4) co-authoring books that help improve the mathematics learning experiences of children in the classroom.


What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your personal life?

I have an extremely supportive family, which includes a loving mother, father, five siblings, and several beautiful nieces and nephews. I also have phenomenal mentors, friends, and sorors who have had a significant influence on my life. I am blessed to have a group of people who are there to celebrate my proud moments, challenge me in ways that help me grow, and lift me up when I need support. 


Please share some words of wisdom/inspiration.

Everyone has a mathematics identity that impacts how we see ourselves as knowers and doers of mathematics. Don’t let your struggles in school mathematics (e.g., Algebra, Geometry) dictate whether you are good at mathematics. We need to embrace the joy and beauty of mathematics by discovering how critical thinking, problem solving and/or reasoning shows up in our lives. Let’s take on the challenge to find examples that help us eliminate the phrase, “I am just not good at mathematics”. More importantly, let’s pass on an asset viewpoint about mathematics to children.