Omayra Y. Ortega is an Assistant Professor of mathematics & statistics at Sonoma State University in Sonoma County, California. Prior to her current position at Sonoma State University, she worked as a Healthcare Analyst at Health Services Advisory Group, and was an Assistant Professor of applied mathematics in Arizona State University’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences. She earned her Ph.D. (2008) and an M.S. (2005) in applied mathematics and computational sciences from the University of Iowa, where she also was awarded her Masters of Public Health. She earned a B.A. in music and in pure mathematics from Pomona College in 2001.
A native of New York City, her scholarly interests reflect her expertise in mathematics: mathematical and computational biology, mathematical epidemiology in developing countries, infectious disease epidemiology, and the participation of women and minorities in sciences. Regarding the latter, she has organized the annual Sonia Kovalesky High School Mathematics Day at ASU’s West campus in recognition of the day’s namesake, who was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics.
Dr. Ortega is a Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) Fellow, participating in the Mathematical Association of America professional development program for recent Ph.D.s in the mathematical sciences. She was an invited speaker at the inaugural Buea International Conference in Mathematics at the University of Buea in Buea, Cameroon, in 2009, and as a result of her appearance she is currently working on a math biology project that focuses on the effect of sickle-cell anemia on the transmission of malaria.
Other conferences at which Dr. Ortega’s presentations have been received are the Blackwell-Tapia Conference, Infinite Possibilities Conference, National SACNAS Meeting, DIMACS Workshop on facing the Challenges of Infectious Disease in Africa, and the SIAM Annual Meeting.