Sara Rezvi

Doctoral student & math educator, the University of Illinois at Chicago

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Find a mentor, a partner, a friend that you can ask for advice, that will sustain you.

What do you do?

I study, research, and teach educators and students about the intersections of math and social justice.

Why did you choose this field?

As someone who’s original career pathway was to become a mathematician only to be limited by sexism and capitalism, I knew I had to find another way to continue my profound respect and love for mathematics. I became a high school math teacher and taught in New York City, Chicago, and Mexico. There, I learned to hone my craft as both a mathematician and a communicator of mathematics with students. As a result, I’ve become a better educator overall. However, I was not satisfied due to the inequitable resource distribution that some of my students faced, including, but not limited to: violence, poverty, DACA status, and language barriers. For this reason, I decided to enter a doctorate program at UIC that center critical math ed scholarship and am also pursuing a minor in gender and sexuality. Math is ultimately a human endeavor and I am now in a space to be learning how to deconstruct what has been historically an exclusively white male space.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

That I would have multiple publications ranging from book chapters to NCTM journals. That I would be invited to work with mathematicians all across the country to create anti-racist materials that support the continued efforts in making mathematics a more inclusive and equitable space. As someone who struggles with imposter syndrome, anxiety, and has experienced trauma and abuse firsthand I am holding my younger me self right now in joy.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I get to think about mathematics as poetry, as art, as connection, as joy. I get to share this feeling of overwhelming curiosity with children and like-minded scholars and practitioners. I get to be on the front lines for demanding that we do better for all younger generations.

Best advice for next generation?

Find a mentor, a partner, a friend that you can ask for advice, that will sustain you, that will push you, that will hold you accountable, and most importantly that will celebrate your successes and hold space for your failures

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“I have never encountered any children in any group who are not geniuses. There is no mystery on how to teach them. The first thing you do is treat them like human beings and the second thing you do is love them.” - Asa G. Hilliard III

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