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Contact Information

(615) 875-8114
Wyatt Center 261


B.A., Mathematics, Rutgers University, 2010
Ed.M., Mathematics Education, Rutgers University, 2011
Ph.D., Mathematics Education, Rutgers University, 2016 

Curriculum Vitae

Luis A. Leyva

Assistant Professor, Mathematics Education, Dept. of Teaching & Learning


Leyva’s research rests at the intersections of mathematics education, gender studies, and higher education. It is motivated by issues of underrepresentation and social oppression in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) that have largely been explored in terms of sex or race exclusively. Using intersectionality from Black feminist thought, Leyva’s work foregrounds the voices and lived experiences of marginalized undergraduate students to understand their strategies in navigating mathematics as a socially exclusionary space as well as developing positive academic identities at intersections of their gender, race, and sexuality.

Leyva examines marginalized students’ STEM educational experiences in two ways. First, he uses narrative analysis to explore how students make meaning of their experiences in building identities shaped by discourses of academic (or mathematical) ability and STEM higher education. Second, viewing identity as a situated construct, he adopts ethnographic methods to detail institutional and interpersonal influences across undergraduate mathematics classrooms and support programs that shape students’ identities and STEM experiences. Such analyses aim to catalyze change in STEM as a white, heteronormatively gendered space and thus broaden opportunities to meet the unique academic and social needs of various marginalized student populations.

Brief Biography

Leyva received a B.A. in mathematics and Ed.M. in mathematics education from Rutgers University. He became certified as a K-12 mathematics teacher in New Jersey and was recognized as a recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Student Teacher of Year Award by the New Jersey Department of Education. In addition to his teacher training, Leyva holds over six years of professional experience in higher education initiatives funded by the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Education, including living-learning communities and summer bridge programs, designed to increase STEM retention and success among students underrepresented in terms of gender and race. He received a Ph.D. degree in mathematics education with a graduate certification in women’s and gender studies from Rutgers University. Leyva was distinguished as a 2015 Dissertation Fellow by the National Academy of Education and Spencer Foundation as well as received the 2016 Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student Award from Rutgers University.