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XSEDE webinar: Richard Tapia, “From the Barrios of Los Angeles to the White House and the National Medal of Science” — April 8
April 8, 2014 @ 12:00 am
Prof. Richard Tapia of Rice University’s Computational and Applied Mathematics Department will present a webinar titled “My Unlikely Journey: From the Barrios of Los Angeles to the White House and the National Medal of Science.” Time: 1 p.m., Tuesday, April 8 To register: Click here. Abstract: In this mentorship talk, Prof. Tapia will discuss how he became a leader in underrepresentation issues at the campus, state, and national levels, and will discuss challenges he’s faced throughout this journey from being born in Los Angeles to parents who immigrated from Mexico to his trip to the White House to receive the 2011 National Medal of Science from President Obama. The National Medal of Science is the highest award given by the United States government and Richard Tapia is the first Latino to win this prestigious award. Bio: Tapia is a mathematician in Rice University’s Computational and Applied Mathematics Department. His research on computational optimization is highly regarded, as is his strong support of women and minorities in the sciences. Tapia was the first in his family to attend college. His parents emigrated separately from Mexico as teenagers seeking educational opportunities for themselves and future generations. Tapia earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles and was on the faculty of UCLA as well as the University of Wisconsin before coming to Rice University in 1970. As chair of Rice’s Computational and Applied Mathematics department in the late 70s and early 80s, Tapia worked to bring women and minority graduate students to the department. Due in large part to his efforts, Rice University has become a national leader in producing women and underrepresented minority Ph.D.s in the mathematical sciences. A founding member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, Tapia also developed creative ways to reach inner-city students and teachers. His “Math is Cool” presentation is designed to spark interest in careers in math and science. Among his many accolades, Tapia is a 2010 awardee of the National Medal of Science, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers. He also received the Distinguished Public Service Award from the American Mathematical Society and the Association of Hispanic School Administrators honored him with its “Professor of the Year” award. Tapia is also an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering. The National Science Board (NSB) recently announced that Professor Tapia is the 2014 recipient of its coveted Vannevar Bush Award. (See http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_