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Professor and First-Generation College Grad Advocates for Minorities in STEM

Professor and First-Generation College Grad Advocates for Minorities in STEM

Mathematician Dr. Richard Tapia of Rice University teaches a class. Tapia (Photo Courtesy Rice University Video/via Screen Capture)Rice University’s Richard Tapia has spent the better part of 40 years advocating for better STEM education for underrepresented minorities and mentoring students in the math and science fields.

The son of Mexican immigrants, he was the first in his family to attend college and says his work is not about armchair quarterbacking. He lived a life where he struggled to move up in his career because of his heritage.

So, ever since, he’s been on a mission. And he tells us about his work and what it will take to get more Hispanics and minorities into STEM fields.

Tapia is a computational mathematician at Rice, and, in November 2016, he won the Public Engagement with Science Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The award honors, among other things, his scholarship, mentoring and public outreach. And in 2010, he received the National Medal of Science.

(Above: Mathematician Dr. Richard Tapia of Rice University teaches a class. Photo Courtesy Rice University Video/via Screen Capture)

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Abner Fletcher

Abner FletcherAbner Fletcher is a multimedia producer for Houston Matters and Houston Public Media.View all posts by Abner Fletcher →