—Alejandro Gonzalez, HSF Scholarship Recipient.
For success achieved through persistence in the face of adversity
Yesmi Rios was raised in Fresno, California. Her parents migrated to the United States from Mexico when she was five years old in hopes of providing a better future for their six children. The family worked in the agricultural fields, picking fruits and vegetables to sustain themselves.
Yesmi transposed her hard-working ethic to her academic studies. As a high school student, she was motivated to pursue higher education after sitting in a math class and feeling devastated that she knew more than the teacher. She decided then that she wanted to be the best math teacher in the world.
She began that path by earning her B.S. in mathematics from UC Davis. As an undergraduate student, she traveled to various migrant camps to educate the children of migrant workers in the fields of math and science, and to provide English classes to the parents. Her focus has always been on the areas that hinder many Hispanic students the most—English, math and science.
Yesmi continued her education at Harvard University, where she earned master's degrees in both mathematics and education. As a graduate student at Harvard University, she collaborated with M.I.T. and Harvard professors to develop mathematical software that provided visual representations of abstract math concepts for students who spoke limited English.
In her current role, Ms. Rios oversees more than 110 K–12 schools and works to ensure that 68,000 non-fluent English speakers are provided appropriate educational services to ensure their academic success. Her love for education has never ceased and she is currently working on a Ph.D., with a focus on reducing math anxiety for Hispanic students. To this day, she loves to educate herself as much as others.
Click image above to see her story.