Behind the scenes of Cartesian Carl

Sarah Ermold


Gulamali (left) and Allen- Black (right) with Cartesian Carl in front.

If you’ve ever been in the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts math building, then you might have run into the Math Department’s Public Relations (PR) Coordinator, Cartesian Carl. 

Cartesian Carl, pronounced kaar-tes-zhn, was brought into the Math Department during the Summer of 2019. Since then, math teachers, Kinsey Gulamali and Chris Allen-Black have personified Carl through PR outings and updates across their main social media platform on Instagram. 

“He’s more of a PR piece than necessarily a teacher’s assistant. He does a lot for us as far as our PR management and through our outreach with welcoming new students to orientation, sharing news about the math department, etc.” said Allen-Black. 

Both even placed an ad for Carl in the 2020 Extravaganza booklet. “I think we lost a follower after this.” said Gulamali. 

Gulamali and Allen-Black noted that both Carl’s creation and continued work is a team effort department wide. 

“Ms. Hoffman was the first one to come up with the idea.” said Allen-Black. “Based on his cousin Flat Stanley.” 

Both credited the idea to Jeanette Hoffman, math teacher, who took Carl on his first trip to Africa. 

Cartesian Carl is the most travelled among the Math Department teachers. Having been on an African safari, to Disney World, Boston, a cruise and even the homes of DA math teachers, principal and other faculty. 

“Cartesian commented that I wasn’t wearing shoes, but I was in my house. Why would I wear shoes in my house?” said Gulamali about the post featuring Carl in her home. 

 “When I got up to teach everyone, I got dressed and put on shoes. I just felt weird being on camera with no shoes.” said Allen-Black  

Allen-Black said that the name came from Carl’s shirt design. Looking closely at his shirt, students can see a cartesian coordinate grid. A close look shows a button that shows the origin, X and Y-axis that demonstrates where you are on a map or graph. Gulamali and Allen-Black credited Zachary Pickering, math teacher, with the creation of Carl’s name. 

Carl’s first portrait was student designed by former Visual Arts student, Kahliya Fuller. Since then, students have credited quite the fan art that’s been featured on Carl’s Instagram. 

But the admiration for Carl extends further than the DA community. Spouses of the math teachers also get in on the action as well. 

“I’m pretty sure my husband thinks Carl is the coolest thing ever,” said Gulamali. 

Carrie Millican, math teacher, said that the math department spouses were very supportive of the DA PR outreach. 

Allen-Black mentioned that Carl is also very well versed with the school mascots. Adding that he follows the DA fountain and hangs out with the Dragon and Puffin. But tension has been created after the addition to the math Manatee outside the math building, despite picking a few of the formulas featured on Martha. 

“Carl is feeling slightly threatened by the appearance of our math manatee Martha. He wants to make sure that he is in fact the original DA math department mascot.” Said Allen-Black. 

But Carl is still as popular as ever. Senior theatre student Daniel McDonald is one student both Gulamali and Allen- Black agreed is probably Carl’s biggest fan. 

Gulamali and Allen- Black spend the most time with Carl and agree he’s a very down to earth person. Together they described Carl as a patient, pastel lover. Noting his love for Mexican food, and more specifically flat things like chips. 

Although best friends before Carl’s creation, Gulamali and Allen-Black agree Carl has added to their friendship. 

“I think he brings out the humor in life when we need it.” said Gulamali. 

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