Juan Barrera, PSJA ISD


Math was not a subject that I cared for my first semester in college. I did poorly on my mathematics placement exam, and as a result, I was placed in a developmental math course.  After my first year in college, I began to feel out of place.  Like many other first-generation college students, I started college clueless, having no idea what career I wanted to pursue.


I remember changing my major several times, trying to discover my true interests.  I sat through lectures wondering what I wanted to do with my life; I was lost.  Fortunately, with only a few classes left before the completion of my core requirements, I ventured into a pre-calculus course.  I was unaware then, but that course would change the way I felt about mathematics and ultimately the career path I would pursue.  My pre-calculus instructor was inspirational.  His genuine passion for the subject and education was easily perceived.  Not only was he clearly able to explain the chapter contents, he also made meaningful connections to its applications. My instructor also served as a mentor outside of the classroom.  


He shared his personal struggle with math and encouraged me never to give up.  It was then that I developed a loving respect for the subject and sought out opportunities to share with other students the beauty of math. My name is Juan R. Barrera III, and I am a math teacher!

Alejandro De La Garza, Lyford CISD


My name is Alejandro De La Garza, and I have been a mathematics teacher for almost 4 years. Before going into the teaching profession, I worked for several companies including Sprint and Primerica Financial. This year I am teaching Algebra 2 and am excited to be pursuing a graduate degree from Harvard University.


I currently hold a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics degree with teacher certification. My goal is to be the most effective teacher possible so that I may impact the lives of my students in a positive way.

Corazon Bautista, Hidalgo ISD


Corazon Bautista has a bachelor's degree in Industrial Management from the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, and a Diploma in Professional Education from the Ateneo de Cagayan-Xavier University in the Philippines, from where she hails. She has been a teacher for 20 years, having taught in schools all over the United States and the Philippines. Her area of expertise is in the field of Math, teaching classes in Geometry, Algebra, and Trigonometry at the middle school, high school, and college levels.


Corazon is currently a Geometry teacher at Hidalgo Early College High School in Hidalgo, Texas. She enjoys teaching high school students because she finds it a challenge and welcomes the opportunity to help students prepare for college success.

Julio Tobias, Edinburg CISD


My name is Julio Adrian Tobias.  I was born in Weslaco but since my family of 4 brothers and 1 sister were migrants, we were accustomed to going up north for 5-6 months every summer.  Most of the time was spent in Michigan but we occasionally went to Kansas or Georgia depending on where there was work.  All that suffering my parents went through taught me that I have everything I need, I just need work hard so that I will not have 16 hour work days.  My parents always instilled in us that school comes first so much so that they did not allow any of us to work, but that didn’t mean me and my older brother didn’t try to help in any way we could. All this was made possible because my parents were willing to sacrifice a lot so that I can have a better life. After graduating I was quickly hired at my old high school as an Algebra teacher and have been a part of a great school and great staff for the past 3 years that has welcomed me and molded me to the teacher that I am now.


Although I am relatively new to the teaching career I know that this great opportunity to advance my education will not only benefit me but it will also benefit my students and my coworkers.  All because my parents pushed the idea that school was always more important and that anything that I needed that was for school I was going to get no matter how much or what they had to go through. Now I feel that I must be the very best I can be or at least give everything I have to the challenge ahead so that everything my parents went through was not in vain.

Ricardo Delgado, San Benito CISD


Ricardo Alberto Delgado, a Brownsville, TX native, is the son of Ricardo & Anna Maria Delgado and the youngest of his siblings, Deanna Salinas & Laura Delgado.


Upon graduation from Hanna High School in 2007, Ricardo enrolled at the University of Texas at Brownsville uncertain of his major but quite definite in his passion for mathematics.  After a year of exploring his scholastic options, he decided to pursue a Bachelors of Science degree in Mathematics with the help of his advisor, Mrs. Setayesh. The last two years of his education were spent dedicated to his studies and maintaining a job as a Teacher's Assistant/Tutor for multiple math courses at the university. Ricardo finished strong his last semester of school by achieving exemplary grades which enabled him to make the Dean's List.  At the age of 21, Ricardo received his degree at the 2010 Winter Commencement Ceremony and went on to teach College Algebra Dual Enrollment at Valley Christian High School along with two Intermediate Algebra courses as a Part Time Adjunct at the university.


He is currently working on his second year of teaching at San Benito High School under the guidance and support of Janie Ortiz, Dean of Mathematics, and Delia Weaver, principal.

Marvelia Balboa, San Benito CISD


Marvelia Balboa is the second of four daughters of Sergio and Guadalupe Balboa.  Although originally born in Matamoros, Mexico, Marvelia has lived most of her life in San Benito, Texas.  From a very young age Marvelia showed a passion for knowledge.  Her self-motivation for success ultimately led her to graduate with honors as Salutatorian from her high school graduating class at San Benito High School in 2007. Upon graduation, Marvelia decided to further her education at The University of Texas-Pan American at Edinburg, Texas.


Her love for mathematics and desire to teach others motivated her to earn her Bachelors of Science in Mathematics with Secondary Certification with highest honor Suma Cum Laude in the Spring of 2011.  Knowing the impact her community had on her education, Marvelia decided to begin her teaching journey at her high school alma mater, San Benito High School.  She is currently in her second year of teaching in where her courses include Geometry, Math Models with Application, and Algebra 2. 

Karina Araiza, PSJA ISD


As a fledgling educator, I had my simple, but genuine philosophy of permeating in my students not only the knowledge, but also the passion for the most beautiful science, mathematics, and taking only as my most precious reward, the look on my students faces when they heeded my word. After a couple of years in the field I came to realize that I did not have the slightest idea of the rather complex reality that individuals in the field of education face; the battle to find ways to reach every adolescent mind in our classrooms is a never ending, multi-faceted one. My name is Karina S Ruiz de Araiza, and I am proud to have been a mathematics teacher in the Rio Grande Valley for eight years. My passion for mathematics was ignited early in my life by my 7th grade teacher, Catholic nun Sor Dora Elia Martinez, who made very clear the following fact:  when an individual experiences some success in the area of mathematics understanding, is not a great deal since we are merely standing on top of the head of great giants.


Therefore, as a twelve year old student of algebra, I was taught that a genuine sense of academic success and satisfaction is not created by the ability to correctly apply theorems and formulas, but rather by the exciting journey of discovery of reasons behind such beautiful theorems. Therefore, as a graduate student of Harvard University, I will immerse myself in the exploration of the beautiful science of mathematics from a teacher perspective with the purpose of creating or enhancing methodologies in the area of mathematics education in order to better serve the students of the Rio Grande Valley since I firmly believe that the key to engage minds is the same key to open knowledge and can be found within the aesthetic of each science.

Harvard Alumni - Class of 2015/16

Cohort I