Blackwell-Tapia Conference and Award Ceremony

David H. Blackwell & Richard Tapia


This biennial conference and prize honors two seminal figures who inspired a generation of African American, Latino/Latina, and Native American students to pursue careers in mathematics—David H. Blackwell, the first African-American member of the National Academy of Science, and Richard A. Tapia, winner of the National Medal of Science in 2010.  The conference

  • recognizes and showcases mathematical excellence by minority researchers; 
  • recognizes and disseminates successful efforts to address underrepresentation;
  • informs students and mathematicians about career opportunities in mathematics; and 
  • provides networking opportunities from mathematical researchers at all stages of  higher education and career trajectory.

The Blackwell-Tapia prize recognizes a mathematician who has served as a role model for mathematical scientists and students from underrepresented minority groups or has contributed in other significant ways to addressing the problem of underrepresentation of minorities in mathematics.

Participant Experiences

  • “The conference strengthened my relationship with colleagues at other universities.”
  • “The main thing that I got out of the Blackwell-Tapia Conference is confidence. Having a group composed mainly of minorities organizing and discussing topics in science and mathematics really gave me the ‘I can do it also’ feeling some necessary to keep going in research.”
  • “I am currently in my penultimate year of graduate school and feel the Blackwell-Tapia conference has greatly inspired me throughout my graduate career. I hope to continue to remain involved after graduate school.”
  • “I met graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty that I have been informally advising and mentoring. This has been a very rewarding experience. In addition, I initiated a new collaboration with a junior faculty member, which I hope will lead to a publication in the near future.”


Conference Photos