Richard Tapia Center
The Rice University Richard Tapia Center for Excellence and Equity, formally the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education, is committed to institutionalizing Dr. Richard Tapia’s successful work in promoting diversity and inclusion.
The Center’s Mission is to increase the number of Hispanics, African Americans, women and other underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The Center’s goals are:
- Be the premier model of a Tier I university retention program for supporting underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students from freshmen year through PhD and faculty/industry position.
- Be a national research hub for data on Latinos, African Americans, and women in higher education.
- Channel the power of the many. The Tapia Center functions as a powerful connecting force among scientists and researchers committed to creating a STEM workforce and community that is truly representative of the diversity in the society in which we live. To achieve this goal the Center directs several national programs for broadening participation including the Empowering Leadership Alliance and the XSEDE Scholars programs as well as two national conferences, the Tapia Celebration for Diversity in Computing and the Blackwell-Tapia Conference in Mathematics.
Why is the Center Necessary?
- Texas is now 40% Hispanic and 12% African American. One in four school-age children and one in two kindergarteners are Hispanic.
- Yet, while the diversity of our state and nation has been growing steadily, only 7% of undergraduates at the top 100 universities are Hispanic or African American.
- Elite universities still have few Latinos and African Americans as faculty and an even a smaller percentage (less than 2%) in STEM.
- Women remain significantly underrepresented in all STEM fields except biology, comprising less than 20% of undergraduates in most science and engineering disciplines.
- In fact, the percentage of women in computer science has actually decreased from 38% of computer science undergraduates in 1985 to less than 17% in 2010.
- However, as a result of intensive Tapia Center and Rice University efforts, almost one third of Rice engineering undergraduates are women, higher than the national average.
- With an estimated national shortage of one million STEM professionals over the next decade, the Center’s efforts to increase the number of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM is essential to the welfare of the nation.
We know that the Tapia Center’s goals are achievable because Dr. Tapia and his colleagues have successfully guided underrepresented students for forty years. In one particular year alone, half of all of the computational math Ph.D. recipients nationwide came from his program. Furthermore, in 2010, the American Mathematical Society awarded Rice University The Mathematics Programs that Make a Difference Award for mentoring and graduating Ph.D.s from underrepresented groups in the mathematical sciences.
Historically, we depended on federal funds but that money is harder to come by. We must now turn to our friends to support the work we do. The Richard Tapia Center is proud to announce that ExxonMobil has provided a $50,000 seed grant for this undertaking and we welcome your support as well.
Please donate here today. In the designation field, choose “other” and indicate the Richard Tapia Center for Excellence and Equity as the recipient of your donation. If your company has a matching gift program, we hope that you will ask them to match your donation.Your tax deductible donation will mitigate a national crisis and will guarantee that the next generation of leaders is representative of the diverse world we live in today.