Recent News

12 May 2022

UC Merced Applied Mathematics Professor Dr. Juan C. Meza Receives The Richard Tapia Achievement Award

Dr. Juan C. Meza To Be 2022 Winner of This Award

Chicago, ILL (May 11, 2022) – The Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT) announced the 2022 recipient of the Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science, and Diversifying Computing is Dr. Juan C. Meza, Professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of California (UC), Merced. The award–named after mathematician and Rice University Professor Dr. Richard A. Tapia–will be presented to Dr. Meza at this year’s CMD-IT/ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference held in Washington, D.C. from September 7 – 10, 2022.

The Tapia Conference brings together students, faculty, researchers, and professionals across various computing fields to celebrate and promote diversity. The computational scientist, computer scientist, or computer engineer who receives the Richard Tapia Award is chosen each year based on distinguished scholarship, leadership in civic areas, and significant contributions made to increasing the participation of underrepresented communities in computing. 

“Nearly two decades ago, in 2003, I served as the General Co-Chair for The Tapia Conference. It has been incredible to witness the continued growth of the Tapia Conferences and our efforts to increase diversity in computing since then,” said Dr. Meza. “It is an honor to return to the conference as a recipient of the Richard Tapia Award and take this opportunity to share my experiences fostering more inclusive scientific environments.”

Dr. Meza’s distinguished career spans numerous academic appointments, including positions as Dean of the School of Natural Sciences at UC Merced from 2011 to 2017, an Adjunct Professor at San Diego State University, and Lecturer and Research Associate at Rice University. Dr. Meza also held positions as Director for the Division of Mathematical Sciences with the National Science Foundation and as Department Head and Senior Scientist of High-Performance Computing Research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His distinguished scholarship in applied mathematics and computational research center on nonlinear optimization, emphasizing methods for parallel computing. He earned his Ph.D. in Computational & Applied Mathematics from Rice University. 

In 2008, Dr. Meza was named the Distinguished Scientist of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans (SACNAS) in Science. Dr. Meza was one of Hispanic Business Magazine’s ‘Top 100 Influentials of 2009’ and was named one of the “Top 200 Most Influential Hispanics in Technology” by Hispanic Engineer and Information Technology Magazine in 2011.

“Dr. Juan Meza’s academic excellence and commitment to diversity in computing are evident from his effective leadership in the area of computational science. We recognize his long-term contributions as a mentor and leader in applied mathematics with this award,” said Dr. Valerie Taylor, CMD-IT CEO and President.  

The Tapia conference is the premier venue to acknowledge, promote, and celebrate diversity in computing. This year’s Tapia Conference theme is “A Time to Celebrate! Resilience, Adaptability and Innovation in Computing” to celebrate the great resilience and adaptability of current and future innovations in computing. Last year, the conference included over 2500 attendees, with students from over 250 different Colleges & Universities. 

For more information about the Tapia conference, visit the CMD-IT/ACM Tapia conference page. For press inquiries, please contact Dorianne Kaboya at or 678-451-7147.

About CMD-IT:

CMD-IT is the national Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Information Technology, focused on the following communities: African Americans/Blacks, Native Americans/Indigenous People, Hispanics/Latinx, and People with Disabilities. Our mission is to ensure that our target communities are fully engaged in computing and information technologies and to promote innovation that enriches, enhances, and enables these communities such that more equitable and sustainable contributions are possible by all.

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