CHC Mathematics Professor Joshua Robles Recognized for Teaching Innovation
Publish Date: May 1, 2023
For many, math can be a scary subject. But a familiar face at Crafton Hills College is here to help, and his hard work just landed him a spot in a 2023 campaign spotlighting Hispanics in mathematics.
Joshua Robles, a Roadrunner math professor, was selected to be part of this year’s Lathisms Hispanic Heritage Month Calendar, a month-long campaign dedicated to providing a platform for Latinx and Hispanic math faculty and students to promote their love and contributions to the subject.
Founded in 2016, Lathisms’ goal is to “provide an accessible platform that features the multifaceted and diverse nature of the Latinx and Hispanic mathematics community and inspires the younger generation of Latinx mathematics.” During the campaign, a person selected from a pool of nominees is featured on the group’s website, complete with a photo, biography and printable poster to promote the group or their fellow nominees’ work.
Robles was selected to become part of this year’s online calendar after being nominated by Brandi Bailes, Crafton’s interim dean of social, information and natural sciences and associate mathematics professor, who Photo: . CHC Math Professor Josh Robles. noticed her co-worker’s enthusiasm for the nonprofit and promoting the fun of math within a classroom setting and beyond.
“Josh is an amazingly gifted, kind and caring member of our math department,” she said. “He actively works to ensure that the immense diversity we have in our mathematics community is highlighted throughout campus.” Part of that effort is done through social media, emails, websites, podcasts and Lathisms material, including a similar calendar/poster campaign that will feaure Robles in the coming months, she added. Robles, a 32-year-old Claremont resident, first heard about Lathisms indirectly through one of his professors at Cal Poly Pomona, Robin Wilson. Wilson, Robles explained, was nominated to be featured on the Mathematically Gifted & Black website, which celebrates the accomplishments of scholars in mathematical sciences within the Black community. Robles said he “crosslinked resources” to find Lathisms and became active promoting the group’s work.
At Crafton, Robles is heavily involved in uplifting and promoting Hispanic heritage through the planning of on-campus events and other means. Mix in a love for math that he discovered while at Cal Poly and you have the perfect Lathisms’ nominee.
“I really enjoy the problem-solving aspect of math, and all the stuff I picked up [while at Cal Poly] about what we call ‘modeling classes.’ So, you have this idea of a real-life problem that you have to simplify with real-life models,” he said. “Studying math is not doing algebra all day. My goal is for my students …to find something [in the subject] they’re interested in.”
Robles added that even if STEM is not one’s career or major of choice, math will always have a “cultural influence” in anything someone does. But what he has been focused on since joining Crafton in 2019 is “exposure,” and he hopes his work and his promotion of Lathisms on campus and the fun of math will help do the trick. Already, students and his colleagues – including Bailes – are taking notice.
“Josh is the kind of person that focuses intentional efforts to make you feel safe, seen and appreciated,” Bailes said. “His energy and ideas have changed how we teach mathematics on campus and throughout our teaching community. I nominated him for [Lathisms] because I wanted to share my vast gratitude for the opportunity to be known and be influenced by him.”
Lathisms Hispanic Heritage Month Calendar featuring Robles will launch sometime during Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. And while he does not have plans to hang posters of his mug around campus, Robles joked others are more than welcome to. But, he added, “I’ll probably just put a small one up in my office.”
To learn more about Mathematically Black & Gifted and Lathisms, visit each group’s respective websites at www.mathematicallygiftedandblack.com and www.lathisms.org.