NEW YORK, NY – Math for America’s (MƒA) 15th Annual Fall ƒunction gala, held this Saturday, November 4 at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, will honor more than 900 accomplished New York City mathematics and science teachers for making a lasting impact in local schools, communities, and the teaching profession at large. The event is not a fundraiser, but brings together 1,200 leaders in education to recognize expert professionals who learn from one another, innovate instruction, and bring new ideas back to their classrooms.

The 15th MƒA Fall ƒunction - the event’s crystal anniversary - will feature a cocktail reception and dinner, highlighted by a keynote address from Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, president of the National Society of Black Physicists, astrophysicist at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and STEM educator. Oluseyi will share his presentation “The Future of Space Exploration” offering an inside look into his own scientific journey and the mentors who guided him along the way. Dr. Oluseyi is an astrophysicist, author, educator, inventor, voice actor, and science communicator. He is a Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Physics and Astronomy at George Mason University. He received a dual bachelor’s in Physics and Mathematics from Tougaloo College and a master’s degree and doctorate in Physics from Stanford University. Dr. Oluseyi’s research focuses on “hacking stars'' to better understand our universe and develop innovative new technologies, leveraging techniques for interpreting electromagnetic radiation, laboratory plasma physics, computational modeling, machine learning, time-domain informatics, big data analytics, and high-performance computing. He is a regular contributor to news programs and makes frequent appearances on the Science Channel, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic. Dr. Oluseyi holds several patents, has received a variety of awards and accolades, and has published numerous scientific articles. His most recent publication is his memoir, A Quantum Life: My Unlikely Journey from the Street to the Stars

MƒA Master Teacher Josh Modeste will share his personal journey as a man of color in STEM and Science Teaching, highlighting how he has turned adversity into opportunities for both himself and his students. He calls on all educators to adopt culturally responsive approaches that honor the diverse identities and knowledge of students, fostering empowerment, meaningful curriculum, and equity in their classrooms. Modeste teaches high school biology at The Urban Assembly School for Global Commerce in East Harlem. A champion for diversity, he was the recipient of the 2022 FLAG Award for Teaching Excellence for his efforts to push students of color into STEM careers. Modeste was previously an Institute of Teachers of Color Committed to Racial Justice fellow, has presented at the Partners in Science National Conference, served as a Genes in Space competition judge, and is currently an educational consultant with the New York STEM Cell Foundation Research Institute. At MƒA, he has co-facilitated the Black, Latinx, and PoC Affinity Group, as well as courses on miniPCR labs and stem cell research. He received his M.S.T. in Biology from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Science Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

MƒA teachers teach in close to 400 New York City schools across all five boroughs reaching approximately 100,000 students while leading and growing through MƒA’s professional development program.The MƒA community being recognized at the event includes more than 675 high school teachers, more than 150 middle school teachers, and more than 50 elementary school teachers, nearly evenly divided between math and science.