Oscar Zatarain Vera was born in Huauchinango, Mexico. During his high school time, he developed an interest in computers, particularly trying to answer the question why do computers work? After investigating answers to this question, and seeing he was also somewhat good at math, he decided to enroll in the Autonomous University of the State of Hidalgo (UAEH) to pursue a degree in applied mathematics. In his last year of college, Oscar had an opportunity to participate in an REU program at SUNY Potsdam in New York. Having such an experience, he discovered his passion for functional analysis and probability. From this point, he decided to pursue a career in academia. He has completed a master’s degree in mathematics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and a Ph.D. at Kent State University in Ohio. Oscar has held a position as a visiting assistant professor at the College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University in Minnesota, where he reinforced his passion for teaching. Currently, Oscar is working at Centre College in Kentucky as a visiting assistant professor. Oscar’s areas of research interest are Operator Theory and its Dynamics, and Probabilistic Analysis. Mainly, he has focused on two lines of research. The first one concerns the study of the dynamics of the orbit of a vector under the action of a linear operator. The second line of research is about Probability and how to apply it to several areas in Analysis and Learning Theory.
Oscar always reminds you that your top priority should be your well-being and that it is ok to ask for help. In terms of studying, he advises students to always ask questions about each topic they are learning and to take advantage of all the student hours available for each of their classes, several times many of the concepts learned make “click” during these sessions. In regards to professional development, although hard work is important, it does not always speak for itself and networking is a great tool to make it visible, so Oscar also advises students to foster relationships with classmates, other students, professors, and the community in general.
“For me, Hispanic Heritage Month means to stand out our Cultura, in other words, it is about embracing and celebrating the vastly wide heritage from our countries, back from the indigenous inhabitants’ customs and Spanish customs. Without detracting from the past, we must appreciate how rich and colorful is this blend of traditions that make us who we are. Apart from celebrating all the accomplishments of our people, it is also a time for acknowledging how much work we still have left to do.”