STEM Professional of the week

Erika T. Camacho, Ph. D.      
Arizona State University

Dr. Erika Camacho is a product of the East Los Angeles community, where she was taught by famed math teacher, Jaime Escalante at Garfield High School in California. After graduating from high school, Dr. Camacho was determined and eager to get started in attaining her educational dreams. She enrolled and eventually graduated from Wellesley College in Massachusetts with a degree in mathematics and economics and continued on to Cornell University in New York, ultimately earning a Ph.D. in applied mathematics.

Degrees in tow, Dr. Camacho next set out to share her passion for the field of mathematics with future generations. She held a tenure-track faculty position at Loyola Marymount University before joining the faculty at Arizona State University (ASU) in 2007. She is currently a tenured faculty member at the West Campus of the university in the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences. In this role, Dr. Camacho teaches at the undergraduate level, since there are no graduate degrees currently offered in math at ASU. She also engages in research and scholarly activity and provides service to the school and the profession.
Dr. Camacho’s lifelong journey is to change the landscape of the mathematics field by greatly diversifying it. Described as a selfless mentor, she has committed herself to ensure her mentees and others from marginalized communities have an opportunity to realize their dreams. Her drive to make a difference led to her creating and/or co-directing two summer research programs. The Applied Mathematical Sciences Summer Institute, dedicated to the recruitment of undergraduate women, underrepresented minorities and those that might not otherwise have the opportunity and the Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute (MTBI). 

In the same fashion that her math teacher, Mr. Escalante brought out the best in her, Dr. Camacho strives to provide the same for her students.  She has mentored numerous MTBI students as a faculty member or graduate student significantly impacting under-represented minorities and women and consistently involves students in her own work, which is at the interface of mathematics and its applications to biology and sociology. 

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