CAM Featured Alumna: Erika Camacho

Erika Camacho

Class of 2003 (Advisor: Richard Rand)
Associate Professor, School of Mathematical & Natural Sciences, Arizona State University


  • Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM), 2018
  • New College Outstanding Service Award, Arizona State University, 2013
  • Dr. Manuel Servin Faculty Award, Arizona State University, 2013
  • 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40 Award, Univision Phoenix & Valle del Sol, 2012
  • HWC National Latina Leadership Award, National Hispanic Women's Corporation (HWC), 2011

I was in CAM from 1997-2003 and have many fond memories of it and how it helped shape who I am. There are three things that stick out in my mind:  the classmates I had in CAM, the structure of the program, and the supportive faculty. If you are looking into graduate schools, trust me when I tell you that those are three of the most important things you need to successfully get a Ph.D.!

I was good friends with many of the CAMsters and, because we were so small (35-40 total in the program), it really felt like home. I went into CAM not knowing what to pursue and the flexibility of the program allowed me to take a number of classes before I needed to commit to a given area. Also the broad range of expertise and department affiliations of the CAM faculty allowed me to go into any area of research as well as to explore many different areas of applied mathematics and fields in which mathematics has helped push forward the forefront of research. Being able to talk freely with the CAMsters that had been there for longer was also very helpful in identifying potential advisors that would be a great fit for me and finding the right area to dive in.

Finally, the faculty was so supportive in nearly every class that I took! I was initially in shock that such world-class researchers would take the time to meet with me, but I came to realize it was because they loved what they did (and they were really nice people)! I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I chose Cornell and CAM. Now that I've had my Ph.D. for over 10 years and have a better perspective on my time there, I would choose CAM all over again in a heartbeat.

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