Roman Chavez Turns Rubik’s Cubes into Teaching Tools for Youth of Color
Roman Chavez is a proud member of the Santo Domingo Pueblo. He currently lives in Oakland, California, and is a rising high school sophomore. Chavez took the Gen-I Challenge by committing to support youth of color in math – using a Rubik’s cube.
At a young age, Roman Chavez noticed a lack of representation of Native Americans, and people of color more broadly, in educational institutions and STEM classes. While he excelled in his own education due to resources like the Berkeley Math Circle at the University of California, Chavez understood that not all young people had equal access to those kinds of opportunities.
In 2016 he established the Jr. Oakland Cubers to teach youth of color to solve Rubik’s cubes. The Rubik’s cube is the focus of the nonprofit because it’s a fun and interactive tool for teaching basic math concepts like algorithms, geometry and algebraic subjects. The mission of Jr. Oakland Cubers is to empower youth of color to excel in mathematics and build confidence. The organization has reached over 600 youth through math tutoring, Rubik’s cube workshops, and mentorship. Its outreach to tribal communities includes a six-month class held at the Oakland American Indian Child Resource Center and multiple classes at various California tribal schools. All student materials and snacks are provided at no cost to families.
Chavez is deeply passionate about educational justice for underrepresented communities in STEM classes and careers. We are happy to have him as a Gen-I Ambassador!
“Education inequity is a fight I am passionate to take on. We must educate ourselves and help others. We must fight stereotypes and make presence known in our communities and educational institutions if we want to make change.”