Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Curriculum & Instruction

Committee Chair

Signe Kastberg

Committee Member 1

Jill Newton

Committee Member 2

Rachael Kenney


It is known that interpersonal relationships are significant to the success of the Latina/o mathematics learner. Unfortunately, interpersonal relationships in mathematics are understudied. For this reason, this study seeks to answer the following question: How do Latina/o mathematics students perceive their interpersonal relationships with their mathematics professors, peers in mathematics, and families with respect to mathematics? To explore the role of such relationships in Latinas/os experiences in mathematics, I define a meaningful relationship in mathematics education (MRIME) as interactions between two parties in which one party acknowledges the other party as a sociocultural being and fosters their mathematics identity. This definition draws from research on care, mathematics identity and mathematics students as sociocultural beings.

This study was done using case studies. Four Latina/o students who were mathematics majors or had a bachelor's degree in mathematics were recruited using a Facebook page. The data collection took place over a period of one year. Three hour-long telephone interviews were conducted with each participant. Analysis of the interviews was based on identifying evidence of components of MRIME including the fostering of the participants mathematics identity and acknowledgement of the participant as social and cultural beings.

The results showed that the participants felt that their relationships with their mathematics professors and peers in mathematics with the most meaningful while their relationships with their families were the least meaningful when the focus was on mathematics. The results also showed that the interpersonal relationships that the participants had were the weakest when it came to the sociocultural element of MRIME.

The results of this study imply that there exist factors, which are possibly connected to mathematics students' perceptions of interpersonal relationships, which may contribute to persistence in mathematics. The data also suggest that further research should be conducted on interpersonal relationships in mathematics educational settings.