Marisa Gaetz

2020 Hertz Fellow
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Marisa Gaetz is a graduate student in mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

She was a member of the undergraduate class of 2020 at MIT, where she majored in mathematics and minoring in philosophy.

Since high school, Marisa has worked on seven major mathematics research projects, primarily in the fields of combinatorics and representation theory. Marisa’s earlier research projects each had unique features that she found enticing: her project at the Boise State University Mathematics REU had applications to the physical sciences, her project at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Combinatorics REU was algebraic, and her projects at the University of Minnesota Duluth REU were combinatorial and concrete. All of these features are present in Marisa’s most recent research, of which she is most proud.

Marisa’s current research is on the representation theory of certain Lie groups and Lie algebras. In particular, she is working to classify “mutually centralizing subgroups” in certain Lie groups. Various properties of elementary particles, such as their spectra and quantum states, correspond to representations of the Lie groups and Lie algebras Marisa is studying. In this way, her research has potential applications to quantum mechanics. Marisa is excited about further exploring the numerous connections between physics and representation theory in her future work.

Outside of her research, Marisa is heavily involved in efforts to improve diversity and inclusivity within the mathematics community. In the spring of 2020, she is for the third time serving as a mentor for MIT’s PRIMES Circle program, which has the goal of helping local high school students from underrepresented groups develop their interest in mathematics. Marisa has also been an active member of the MIT Mathematics Department’s Diversity and Community Building Committee since its inception in 2018.

In addition to mathematics, Marisa is very passionate about using education and technology as means to improving the criminal justice system and reducing mass incarceration.

"I firmly believe that improving and expanding diversity initiatives now will accelerate later advancements in mathematics and will lead to a richer community of mathematicians."
– Marisa Gaetz

Graduate Studies

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Undergraduate Studies

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


2019, ESG Community Service Award, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2017, 2 Under 20 Award, St. Cloud Times
2017, Outstanding Undergraduate Poster Award, Mathematical Association of America
2015, Honorary Science Award, Bausch + Lomb
2015, Harvard Book Award, Harvard Alumni Association

Related News

May 20, 2020
The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation has announced the 2020 recipients of the Hertz Fellowship. This year’s fellowships will fund 16 researchers whose goals range from developing more effective drugs to advancing artificial intelligence to creating a carbon-neutral future.