Kinship is important to Gamilaraay mathematician Jared Field. It has been essential for his survival in academia and is the topic of his current book project. Now a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne, his interest in math came both from his drive to defeat racist stereotypes and by a sense of competition. “In year 10 [in high school], I was the second highest maths class and I was given the option to move up to the advanced class, but
my teacher at the time discouraged me from doing it,” he reflected. “She reckoned I would
struggle [based on] all these backwards, racist tropes about Indigenous people.”
For one summer as an undergraduate, Kyle Dahlin, currently a Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Georgia, had to take a ferry to a small island for field work. “If you didn’t leave by a certain time, you were sleeping on the island. Or you could swim,” he remembers. “That was fun. Much more fun than pure math would be.” This field work, at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, was part of a two year program in mathematical biology where he and a biology undergraduate were placed on joint research team. He relished the opportunity to learn biology from his peer and teach his peer about math. “Pure math has one right answer,” he reflected. “In ecology everything is really complex and messy.” His work has lived at the intersection of biology and mathematics ever since.