Insiya was presented an honorary certificate for women in STEM by the office of Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel
Insiyah Jamali, of the Los Angeles Dawoodi Bohra community, had already received a Master’s in Education Psychology when she came to the USA. Her degree was from the prestigious University of Poona, fondly nicknamed the “Oxford of the East.” Her first residence was in Detroit. As a new immigrant, she decided she would instead teach Mathematics, a subject she had always loved, rather than be a counselor as she was still unfamiliar with the local culture and people. With that idea in mind, she joined the University of Rochester in Bloomfield Hills to be accredited in the field of mathematics.
When her husband accepted a position at NASA, a spousal change in jobs resulted in her moving across the country and setting up a home in Los Angeles where she acquired additional certification from the University of California, Los Angeles as a teacher in-training. In her twenty-seven years of teaching for the Los Angeles Unified School District, she has taught at El Camino High School, Van Nuys Middle School, and ended her career at Chatsworth High School.
Insiyah credits her success to her strong faith. She recalls a moment from her childhood when asked what she wanted to do in the future; Insiyah replied, “I want to be a teacher,” even though at that young age, she had not really given it deep thought. Not only did she impart her love of mathematics to generations of students, but her profession also left a lasting impact on her children. Today, her daughter is a rocket scientist who uses mathematics daily in her work, and her son is a cardiologist with a thriving practice.
Teaching takes work. Throughout her career, Insiyah recalls waking at 4:30 am to grade papers so that she could give out reports to her students at 7:30 am. Teaching entails a lot of emotional navigation as well. It takes strong faith, an absolute belief in what you are doing, adaptability, and resilience to survive public school education. The reward is in the many success stories of students who have left your classroom and gone on to careers. Many of her past students still reach out to her for help during those difficult teenage years when one is still figuring it all out.
As one of the matriarchs of our community, Insiyah has earned the deep respect of fellow members and has inspired women to follow in her footsteps on the path of education. She has always served as a guide for her local community on how best to handle difficult classroom situations. In her decades-long career as a mathematics teacher, she has seen first-hand the reconfiguration of the student population and educational policies and weathered it all. We applaud her for her courage, dedication, and service.