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.

The 2020 recipient of the Blackwell-Tapia Prize is Dr. Tatiana Toro, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Washington, Seattle.

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

Previous Conferences
2018 organized by ICERM
2016 organized by NIMBioS
2014 organized by IPAM
2012 organized by ICERM
2010 organized by MBI
2008 organized by SAMSI
2006 organized by IMA
2004 organized by IPAM
2002 organized by MSRI
The first Blackwell-Tapia conference was established at Cornell University in 2000, organized by Carlos Castillo-Chavez through the Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology. The $5000 award began in 2002 and has been funded by Cornell.