Mathematically Gifted & Black - Homepage

Rising Stars

Our rising stars are young, up-and-coming mathematicians which are already exhibiting promising potential & providing outstanding contributions for the math community.

Kaitlin Tademy

Ph.D. Student
Department of Mathematics
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

I was born and raised in Houston, TX with my mother, father, twin sister, and younger sister. I earned my B.S. in Mathematics from Sam Houston State University in 2018 and am currently a third-year Ph.D. student in Math at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I hope to start research in Knot Theory within the next year!

While math was something I always enjoyed, it wasn’t until I took Calculus I in high school that I learned that math was something I could be excited and passionate about. Without my high school calculus teacher sharing his excitement for math with us, I’m not sure that I would have found my passion for math. When I started my math major at SHSU, I became a part of a supportive department full of faculty who encouraged me to apply for conferences, REU’s, and other programs they knew would support my growth as a mathematician. But perhaps the most impactful of these experiences was the Emerging Scholars Program REU at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Being exposed to research and Knot Theory for the first time made me even more excited and more passionate about learning math and being a part of the community. But more importantly, it showed me that the community of mathematicians is so diverse; that I do belong in it. I became a more confident, grounded, and passionate mathematician. Lastly, tutoring in the math center my last two years of undergrad ignited my passion for teaching and math education. As I progress through my math career, I hope to become a more active member of the Math Ed community.

Words of wisdom: If you are tired, go to bed. Always.

I’d like to take a moment to promote/give a shoutout to the EDGE program and thank the community of Woman Math Warriors who continue to support me on my math journey!

Micah Henson

Ph.D. Student
Department of Applied Mathematics
University of Washington

What is your personal and educational background?

I was born in New Jersey, but my family moved to Gwinnett County, GA when I was 12 years old. Growing up, I did not particularly like math. I was more interested in science and history. I did not start to learn about the importance of math until I started college. I received my B.S. in mathematics from Spelman College in 2017. Currently, I am a PhD student at the University of Washington in Applied Mathematics being advised by Ka Kit Tung and Mark Kot.


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

During sophomore year in college, I was accepted to the GSTEM program at Spelman that provided funding for students to travel internationally and conduct STEM research. I attended the University of Glasgow and worked on a research problem in applied mathematics. I did not know that mathematics was used to solve real world problems before this program, and it sparked my love for research. Subsequently, I sought every opportunity to pursue research. I worked on projects with Dr. Natarajan Ravi and Dr. Monica Stephens at Spelman. I attended MSRI-UP and worked with Dr. Luis David García Puente and Dr. Ashley K. Wheeler. I am incredibly grateful to my professors at Spelman and mentors at MSRI-UP for encouraging me to pursue the mathematical sciences.

Please share any words of wisdom/inspiration or anything you would like to promote.

The best piece of advice I have ever received is that your self-worth is not measured by your ability to do mathematics. When you are passionate about what you do, it is easy to wrap your whole identity into succeeding in your work. So, when things don’t quite go as planned, you feel like you have lost a piece of yourself. Remember that you are important and valuable regardless of your productivity and ability to do math.

Kevin Harris

Ph.D. Student
Department of Mathematics
University of Texas at Arlington

What is your personal and educational background?

I was born and raised in Houston, TX. I received my B.S. in Mathematics from Texas Southern University (TSU) and my M.S. in Mathematics from Sam Houston State University (SHSU). It was during my time at TSU and SHSU where I discovered the importance of pursuing a PhD. I am currently a PhD student at The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), working with Dr. David Jorgensen in the field of commutative algebra. During my time at UTA, I have had the privilege of participating in the College of Science Black Graduate Student Association (COSBGSA) and the American Mathematical Society (AMS).

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

I had the privilege of participating in a summer undergraduate research program (SURP) at TSU. That was my first real taste of mathematical research. I was working on third order maxilinear difference equations with Dr. Willie Taylor. Discovering new results created a new outlook on mathematics for me. I now go into every math class wondering if I can discover any new results from every lemma, theorem and proposition that I learn. Mathematics is this never-ending puzzle and I want to be able to solve as much of it as I can.

Please share any words of wisdom/inspiration or anything you would like to promote.

I could go into this whole soliloquy about everything that you should keep in mind, but I prefer to keep things simple. No matter what you choose to pursue, my advice to you, in the words of the great James Valvano (aka Jimmy V), would be these seven words: “don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

Jemar R. Bather

Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Biostatistics
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Born in Jamaica and raised in Bronx, NY, my single mother championed my mathematical pursuits. She worked full-time, attended community college, and still managed to find time to help me with my math homework. Given that she migrated to the US for a better life, she wanted to provide me with a quality education. Therefore, she applied for a scholarship for me to attend St. Nicholas of Tolentine, a Bronx private school. In part, to acing the math section of the scholarship examination, the tuition cost was reduced. This was the first of many doors the mathematical sciences would open for me. Next, I enrolled at The Pennsylvania State University (PSU), where I majored in statistics. I was selected as a teaching assistant for PSU’s introductory statistics course, was inducted into the Statistical Honor Society, and was involved with the Statistics Club. After graduation, I leveraged my degree for social impact as a Data Analyst in the non-profit sector, using my skills to improve academic outcomes among low-income children. At the same time, I enrolled in New York University’s MS in Applied Statistics program. Through this program, I gained mentors who believed I had the statistical acumen to pursue a doctorate. I am thankful for those mentors, my academic training, and my mother because I am currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Biostatistics at Harvard. I encourage the next generation of Black statisticians to seek as many mentors as possible by being your authentic self.