Rachel E. Vincent-Finley
Where are you from?
I grew up on military bases in the United States and abroad. My father served in the U.S. Air Force and his service provided opportunities for my family to travel together. My parents, Dennis Sr. and Marietta Vincent, created a supportive home environment for me and my siblings at each duty station. My family’s home base is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where we reconnect with extended family and friends.
Please describe an experience (or 2) that helped you discover/ cultivate your interest in the mathematical sciences.
I enjoyed mathematics and science lessons in elementary school. Several of my teachers took notice of my interests and encouraged me to participate in a St. Jude Math-A-Thon. The academic and civic engagement in the program as well as the team building activities deepened my interest in mathematics. Inspirational teachers and extracurricular activities in middle and high school fostered my interest in the mathematical sciences. Participation in research and professional development programs as an undergraduate at Bryn Mawr College helped to solidify my path to graduate school.
What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your career in the mathematical sciences?
I am proud of moments when I am able to share my professional accomplishments with my family. My family has been present and supportive along my professional journey, thus I am honored to share milestones with them. For example, I was overjoyed to present at a colloquium at my alma mater, Bryn Mawr College, and have my parents and grandmothers in attendance. Graduations were multigenerational events from the completion of my bachelor’s degree to the completion of my doctoral degree from Rice University.
I am also proud of opportunities to participate in statewide and national committees that provide recommendations concerning infrastructure and reform in support of STEM education. Locally, I serve as the representative for Southern University and A&M College on the Louisiana Optical Network Infrastructure (LONI) Management Council (https://loni.org/) and the LaSTEM Advisory Council (https://lastem.regents.la.gov/about-lastem/).
What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your personal life?
In my personal life I am most proud of my family support system. I have a large extended family and am proud of opportunities to support them as they have supported me. I serve as Aunt Mathematics Helper and Cousin Tutor and enjoy the opportunities to share my interests in mathematics with my family.
Please share some words of wisdom/inspiration.
I encourage young people to write out their dreams and seek opportunities that support the realization of those dreams. Failures may occur along the journey, however should not define the journey.