Meet Mayleen Cortez
Applied Mathematics Ph.D. Candidate
Welcome to my website! I'm so glad you are here. Whether you're looking to get in touch with me, learn about my current or past research, or get to know me a little better, you've come to the right place! Keep scrolling to learn about my commitment to making mathematical spaces more inclusive, read fun facts about me and more!
Service and Outreach Experience
College for a Day
As an undergraduate, I was a math tutor at our school's STEM center. Being funded by a government grant for Hispanic Serving institutions, our goal was to increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students attaining degrees in STEM. We did this by providing resources, like tutoring, at no cost to students. In March 2018, I was a volunteer for the "College for a Day" event hosted at my institution. This event is designed for students and their families from Ventura County, CA and supports the countywide initiative to promote a university-going culture. As a volunteer, I led a group of about 10 middle school students in a hands-on science activity where we built a speaker. I also had the opportunity to talk with the students about higher education by answering all their questions!
Homework Help Center
In 2019, my mother and I created a homework help center at our church, Iglesia Evangelica Rey de Reyes. Our church population consists of Latin American immigrants and their families, as well as other Spanish-speaking folk. We noticed a need among the children at the church for tutoring and homework help. As such, our primary goal was to provide a resource to first-generation students in grades K-8, though we did work with some high school students too. The children I worked with were all Hispanic and would be the first in their families to finish a complete K-12 education. I helped students with their math and science homework as well as provided study tips, tutoring and other advice. I also encouraged them to consider higher education by having open conversations with them about college and what it means to be a scientist or mathematician.
Mentoring Program Experience
During the 2020-2021 academic year, I was a mentor to an undergraduate student as part of Cornell's Association for Women in Math ZigZag mentoring program. We met once or twice a semester to chat about life, classes, graduate school, the unique challenges that come with being a woman and a Latina in mathematics and more. I'm excited to continue mentoring her and other undergraduate students during my time at Cornell.
During the 2021-2022 academic year, I coordinated Cornell's Center for Applied Math (CAM) peer-mentoring program alongside fellow CAM student Marissa Gee. I was a coordinator for the 2022-2023 academic year alongside Tayler Fernandez Nunez, and am reprising my role for the 2023-2024 academic year.
Other Outreach & Service
2021 Virtual Expanding Your Horizons Conference volunteer
2021 Reunion Weekend panelist, hosted by The Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) Program
Grad School Demystified panelist, hosted by Cornell Undergraduate Research Board in August 2020
More to come... :)
More About Me
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends or family. My husband and I like watching movies and shows together... although we have pretty different tastes so choosing what to watch is not always easy. Lately, we've been watching Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, Malcom in the Middle, and This Fool. We recently watched Barbie and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem in theaters.
I also really enjoy singing and karaoke! I can easily spend several hours singing to karaoke on YouTube when no one is home. You'll find me jamming to Disney songs, random musical theatre songs from musicals I've never seen, Tori Kelly, Little Mix, Harry Styles, Nobigdyl. and more!
I also like to dance, go on walks, weight train, and listen to audio books or podcasts, such as "If Books Could Kill", "Maintenance Phase", and "Mathematically Uncensored." I love like trying new foods. I'm working on perfecting my cooking skills with Salvadoran classics like pupusas, pollo guisado, mojarra frita and platanos fritos. On Sunday mornings you can sometimes find me singing with the Contemporary Music team at my church Christ Chapel in Ithaca, NY.
Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science
"SACNAS – Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science – is an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in STEM." (sacnas.org)
Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation
"The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Leadership and Academic Enhancement Program, named in honor of former congressman Louis Stokes, is a NSF funded program intended to support historically underrepresented students in the STEM fields."
The goal of the Math Alliance is "to be sure that every underrepresented or underserved American student with the talent and the ambition has the opportunity to earn a doctoral degree in a mathematical science."