The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has announced the selection of Richard Tapia, Noah Harding Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice University, as one of the first recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.
The award particularly recognizes Tapia's contributions to mentoring of students who have been underrepresented in science, math, and engineering fields. As Director of Human Resources and Education for the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Center for Research on Parallel Computation, headquartered at Rice, Tapia initiated and now directs all CRPC outreach programs. These programs have, in less than 10 years, trained and encouraged more than 750 students and 700 teachers -- especially underrepresented minorities and women -- to pursue or interest students in mathematics and science careers.
The award also credits Tapia's role as associate director for minority affairs in the Office of Graduate Studies at Rice University. Tapia's efforts have helped Rice's computational and applied mathematics department lead the nation in graduating women and minority Ph.Ds. Since he joined Rice in 1970, Tapia has been responsible for increasing the number of women and minorities studying mathematics and science at the university.
All of Tapia's contributions have been inspired by his conviction that "no first-world nation can maintain the health of its economy or society when such a large part of its population remains outside all scientific and technological activity."
Because of Tapia's recognition, Rice will receive a $10,000 NSF-funded grant to further enhance the mentoring of underrepresented groups in math, science, and engineering at the university. Tapia will accept the award at a White House ceremony on Wednesday, September 25.
Updated by Debbie Campbell (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Posted September 24, 1996.