Math, Food and Community: Interview with Taste of Math Co-chairs

Taste of Math is a celebration dedicated to our partners and sponsors who are helping to make this year’s free, family-friendly Math Fair possible. I asked the co-chairs who are organizing the Taste of Math to share a little bit about themselves and why they chose to get involved in the Taste of Math and Math Fair events.


Janet Ray is a long-time supporter of MIND Research Institute as well as other philanthropic work in education in Orange County. Her husband Walkie Ray is on the board of MIND, and they have five grown children and 11 grandchildren.


Janet and Walkie Ray, long-time supporters of MIND.

Sandra Cervantes is a real estate business investor and owner of Superior Real Estate Services , and the owner of Cervantes Publishing Company, with its signature newspaper, Miniondas, now celebrating 40 years of production. She is an advocate of homeownership education, sustainability, housing and community development. Sandra has two daughters and five grandchildren. Sandra and her husband enjoy golf, travel and spending time with the grandchildren.


Sandra Cervantes, Taste of Math co-chair.

CW: How did you become interested in MIND Research Institute?

JR: I first became involved about 15 years ago when my husband Walkie Ray became a board member of MIND. We are both very supportive of education; it is a core issue to both of us and something we set out to support as a couple. We helped found the Discovery Cube, also here in Orange County. When I saw MIND’s ST Math program, I felt strongly about this new and effective way to teach math, which is so different from learning by rote. It is a much stronger approach to learning math and I wanted to be involved.

SC: My desire to help my grandchildren succeed in the areas of math and science led me to become interested in MIND and its mission. MIND’s math events build our community and partnerships, and they benefit young families as well as new immigrant populations.

JR: Math is a key to everyday living. MIND’s unique approach to teaching math is something I support and I hope to share that with others.

CW: Why are you excited about Taste of Math?

SC: Bringing food and math together is an excellent opportunity to showcase that math is fun and can be understandable when taught correctly.  Math can often be a source of anxiety for a lot of people, yet when taught in a fun environment (and in this case, with food for adults) you tend to stay focused and make the connections.

JR: I’ve been involved in a lot awards dinners and galas, including ones for MIND years ago, but Taste of Math is a fantastic change from the traditional model. It is interactive for the attendees; it will be an experience unlike any other event. This one is going to be a fun one.

SC: There will be amazing food with award winning chefs. It will be a fun, innovative and inspiring celebration of math and community building.

CW: What are you looking forward to the most for the Taste of Math on Nov. 4th and the Math Fair on Nov. 5th?

JR: I’m looking forward to increasing the community’s awareness of MIND and MIND’s mission. Since both events are at the same location, attendees to the Taste of Math will get to experience some of the same interactive exhibits that the kids will experience the next day at the Math Fair. The food will be great too, of course, but what makes this event unique is that the attendees get to experience learning math the way the kids will.

SC: Taste of Math is going to change the world of gala dinners; adults will savor the unique experiences from these award-winning chefs. At Math Fair, I’m looking forward to seeing children get excited about math and witnessing that light-bulb effect take place when the students realize that math is awesome.

CW: How can other people get involved?

JR: We are still looking for volunteers and sponsors who would like to support this event.

SC: Yes, people can contribute financially or help us get the word out about the Math Fair in Orange County.

JR: And all families are welcome to attend the Math Fair.


Thank you to Janet Ray and Sandra Cervantes for contributing countless hours to help make these events a success.

If you would like to volunteer your time at either event, sign up below!

Volunteer with MIND

Families are welcome to attend the free, family-friendly Math Fair on Saturday, Nov. 5th at the OC Fair and Events Center in Costa Mesa, CA, just register below!

Register for Math Fair

Calli Wright

About the Author

Calli Wright was the Marketing Manager at MIND Research Institute. She loves playing and designing board games, which she often talks about on twitter @CalliWrights.


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