Nancy Rodriguez immigrated to Las Vegas from Mexico with her family when she was nine years old. She received her bachelors degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering and Applied Mathematics from the University of San Diego (USD) in 2006. While at USD, she was a McNair and Goldwater scholar and graduated summa cum laude. She then went to the University of California, Los Angeles to pursue an applied mathematics degree with a Ford Foundation fellowship. At UCLA she joined the applied math group of Andrea Bertozzi. She graduated in 2011 from UCLA, becoming the first McNair Scholar from USD to obtain a PhD. Upon graduation, Rodriguez obtained the NSF Postdoctoral fellowship, which she took to Stanford University. While at Stanford, Rodriguez was a co-director of a new research experience for undergraduate students (REU) and volunteered for the Prison University Project teaching math classes at San Quentin Prison. In 2014 she joined the mathematics department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC) as an assistant professor. She continues her efforts to help increase the number of Latino/as in the STEM fields by providing mentorship to Latino/as pursuing a a mathematics degree at UNC.
Rodriguez's research focuses on nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs), in particular those with applications to urban crime, segregation, biological aggregation, chemotaxis, and ecology. Fundamentally, she is interested in the mathematical modeling and the use of numerical and mathematical analysis to shed light into social, biological and ecological systems. Her publications have contributed to the advancement of the theory for non-local PDEs and have brought insight into crime propagation and prevention, social segregation, and pest-control.
"In order for ALL Hispanics to have access to the American dream, we need equal access to quality education. This begins with teachers whose job is not only to teach, but to inspire young Latino/as to do great things. It is our job to make sure that Latino/as are not driven out of pursuing STEM fields because they feel that they cannot do mathematics. Mathematics is the language of the world and has been helping us unlock the secrets of the Universe. Especially, these days it is imperative." - Nancy Rodriguez