For the second consecutive year, Allechar Serrano López, a fifth-year math graduate student, has received the university’s highly competitive Teaching Assistant Award (UTA). The UTA program is designed to assist departments in trying out new ideas in undergraduate teaching.
As a teaching assistant, Serrano López has challenged cultural norms about mathematics by working to create a more inclusive and diverse classroom. Ethnomathematics is the study of the relationship between mathematics and culture—the goal of ethnomathematics is to recognize the contributions of other cultures, with the understanding that math can be taught in different ways to different groups of people.
“Mathematics is traditionally presented as a European creation—with mathematics seen as a superior intellectual activity reserved for a few,” said Serrano López. “Unfortunately, this can lead to a bias where certain cultures are favored over others. With mathematics, this bias often inadvertently restricts who gets to do and study math. Mathematical traditions outside of Europe don’t fit this mold and are often largely dismissed from the history of mathematics. Our students go through a history of math class and are unaware of the contributions of indigenous people to the ﬁeld. My goal is to change that.”
Learn more about Serrano López here.