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Awardee Spotlight: 2023 Grace Holt Recipient Priscila Pereira

Get to know the 2023 Grace Holt Memorial Awardee Priscila Pereira in her interview about what it meant to her to receive this award. Hear about her research and her goals moving forward.

Priscila Pereira: Ph.D. Candidate in Mathematics and Science Education Heading link

woman standing in front of a brick wall wearing a pink and red shirt

Priscila (she/her/ela) is a Ph.D. Candidate in Mathematics and Science Education from the College of Education at UIC. She is also a concentrator in Black Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies.

In 2023, Priscila won the Grace Holt Memorial Award and was honored for her achievement at the Grace Holt Celebration. This award recognizes UIC students committed to racial justice in their community. Her interview is below:


What did receiving the Grace Holt Memorial Award mean to you? 

There are two things I’d like to share on what receiving the award meant to me. First, Professor Grace was not only an amazing researcher and activist, but also a fundamental person to my own development. Without her work at UIC, fighting for and establishing the Black Studies Department, I would not have been able to become the young scholar I am. Second, it is hard to describe the respect and admiration I have for the Black Studies Faculty. Their work ethics, academic brilliance, and personal engagement have shown me what love, kindness, encouragement, and intellectual excellence looks like. To be recognized by such amazing people elevated my sense of belonging and motivated me to keep moving forward.

What work are you currently engaged in?

As part of my research, I’m currently collecting amazing stories from wonderful Black women mathematicians in Brazil about their experiences in math and in the larger society. I’m also serving as the director for the Racial Justice in Early Math project, and we are currently organizing the First National Meeting in Racial Justice in Early Math. I’m super excited to engage with educators from across the country who are committed to anti-racist math education for young learners. Be sure to check us out 😉 . I am also nurturing my creative skills through music, cooking, and sewing projects.

What are your future goals and aspirations?

Sometimes, this question keeps me up at night. Overall, I hope to continue honoring the brilliance, joy, humanity, beauty, and strength of Black women and girls in my work and personal life. Immediate goals are to finish this PHD thing and get more research experience. Long term is to live a life that make my ancestors and descendants proud.