After 20-years of teaching, Catherine Roberts, PhD shares her expertise as a CEO

By Catherine Roberts, PhD

Introduce yourself and describe your work

After a 20-year career as a mathematics professor, teaching at the college level and doing research in nonlinear integral equations and natural resource modeling, I became the Executive Director of the American Mathematical Society, which is the professional society for research mathematicians. This Fall, I will begin a new role as CEO of the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications.

What do you consider to be your most important career achievement or discovery?

Developing a mathematical model to support the efforts of the Grand Canyon National Park to manage white water rafting traffic on the Colorado River.

During times of imposter syndrome or feelings of discouragement, what or who helped you persevere?

I’m inspired by women who opened doors for me and others like me. I have close friends and family who build me up when I am feeling discouraged.

How does your work impact people and the world around us?

The AMS advances mathematics. We run conferences, publish books and research journals. We maintain the database of the mathematical literature used by researchers worldwide. We advocate for federal funding that supports fundamental research, graduate students, and mathematics education.

What is a unique fact about your career/industry?

There are about the same number of men and women majoring in mathematics at the undergraduate level! Mathematicians work in academia, industry, business, government, and nonprofits!