Richard A. Tapia

Rice University | Houston, TX | 1996

Richard A.  Tapia Portrait Photo

The official biography below was current at the time of the award. Awardees may choose to provide their latest biographical information on their profile page.

Tapia is Noah Harding Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Associate Director of Minority Affairs (Office of Graduate Studies), and Director of Education and Minority Programs), Center for Research in Parallel Computation (CRPC), at Rice University. Tapia's accomplishments include: I. Directing the advanced work of 28 students, including seven minority students, in computational and applied mathematics; II. Overseeing the college careers of hundreds of minority students, as Dean of Education and Minority Programs; III. Originating a five-point program addressing minority education issues at every level, from graduate recruitment to high school awareness in his role at CPRC, an NSF Science and Technology Center (STC) -- in less than a decade, he has spearheaded a nationally recognized model educational outreach program for minorities and women that has trained more than 575 students and 600 teachers in mathematics, science, and engineering; this core of students, in turn, continues to impact thousands of others; IV. Significantly impacting Rice University institutionally -- by helping increase the minority percentage of Rice s freshman class from less than 5 percent to approximately 15 percent over the past few years; Rice has graduated the most minority Ph.D. students of any mathematics department in the country; 14 of 24 of Tapia s Ph.D. or M.A. students have been minority; V. Being elected the first Mexican-American to the National Academy of Engineering; voted by students as the 1991 winner of Rice s George R. Brown Award for superior teaching; named by the National Research Council (NRC) as one of the 20 most influential leaders in minority mathematics education; awarded the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award for Education from the Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers; and serves on the Board of Directors o f the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.