Dr. Rebecca E. Garcia is Professor of Mathematics at Sam Houston State University and Co-Director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Undergraduate Program (MSRI UP). She is native Chamorro, born and raised in Guam, and, so far as she knows, is the first Chamorro to earn a doctoral degree in pure mathematics. Her journey in mathematics began at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA, where she earned her bachelors degree. She earned her masters degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and her doctoral degree from New Mexico State University under the direction Irena Swanson. Her research interests are at the intersection of computational and commutative algebra and combinatorics, with contributions in computational algebraic combinatorics, theory of sandpile groups, and dimension theory of partially ordered sets.
Her record of service is a reflection of her love for her community and a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion: from running math circles at SHSU and preparatory programs for local middle school students to directing national undergraduate research programs that aim to increase the number of underrepresented students attaining advanced degrees in the mathematical sciences. She is dedicated to growing the community of indigenous mathematicians beginning with co-directing and founding of the five-year mentoring and research program Pacific Undergraduate Research Experience in Mathematics (PURE Math). Currently, Dr. Garcia is part of the collaborative effort IndigenousMathematicians.org, a website and community dedicated to spotlighting the journey and mathematical contributions of Indigenous mathematicians including Native Americans, Native Alaskans, Native Hawai`ians, and Native Pacific Islanders.
Dr. Garcia is an active member of the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, the Association for Women in Mathematics, the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, and the local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens. She is the recipient of the 2015 Texas Section MAA Award for Distinguished College and University Teaching of Mathematics