Meet Mayleen Cortez

Applied Mathematics Ph.D. Student

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 am coordinating Cornell's Center for Applied Math (CAM) peer-mentoring program alongside fellow CAM student Marissa Gee. 

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... :)


"Fun" Facts About Me

Favorite places: Yellowstone National Park and Disneyland

Favorite (pure) math class (so far): Abstract Algebra

Favorite Disney Character: Winnie the Pooh

Favorite Theme Park: Disneyland (of course)

Favorite Color: Pink... or purple... sometimes blue

Favorite Food(s): Pollo guisado (al estilo Salvadoreño), o pupusas revueltas con salsa de tomate y curtido, o mojarra frita con tortillas hechas a mano

Books I'm Reading: Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery, Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, and The Capture by Kathryn Lasky

Hobbies: I really love to sing and dance! (I've been told I'm decent in the former, but not so great in the latter... oh well!) Some of my favorite artists right now are Tori Kelly, Little Mix, Wande and Nobigdyl. I also really enjoy just watching movies/shows with my friends and family. Some of my favorite shows are Lost, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Dear White People, Community, Anne with an E, and Once Upon a Time. Some movies I've enjoyed and would recommend are Coco, Soul, Hidden Figures, any Marvel Cinematic Universe movie and Little Women (2019). I also really like cooking, though during the school year I stick to meal-prepping and I don't get too creative.



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." (

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."

Math Alliance

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."


Some of the loves of my life