Thursday, September 21, 2023
  Around Campus

By Victoria Brito Morales

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – SEPT. 21, 2023 – Dr. Cristina Villalobos – a Myles and Sylvia Aaronson endowed professor in the UTRGV School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, director of the UTRGV Center of Excellence in STEM Education and fellow of the American Mathematical Society – has been featured in the September 2023 issue of Nature Computational Science.

The feature, Towards equitable education, discusses Villalobos’s work on empowering underrepresented groups in STEM education and gives her insights in a Q&A on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals related to equitable education and gender equality.

Villalobos said equal access to technology in today’s emerging world can be better achieved through affordable technical education, and she stressed the importance of technology in education. 

It goes without saying that we should empower our teachers and students with technology,” she said in the interview with the Nature Computational Science journal. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, it became apparent that there are many homes across the United States and certainly across the world that do not have WiFi access and the devices to enable remote learning, such as laptops, tablets and webcams. 

“I think we can use technology to provide more equitable education by facilitating the engagement of students with their peers and in their coursework, and this technology should not be that costly,” she said.

Villalobos challenged businesses and companies to come up with more innovative ways for students to be able to access online tutoring effectively and efficiently.

“Right now, there are many applications that one needs to use for different parts of remote learning, so that it becomes challenging to make this a reality for all,” she said. “If we want to make education more equitable, let us start by facilitating the technology.”


Nature Computational Science is a multidisciplinary journal that focuses on the development and use of computational techniques and mathematical models, as well as their application to address complex problems across a range of scientific disciplines.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.