2015 Winner of the Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award
Lydia Tapia is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the University of New Mexico (UNM), where she researches methodologies for the simulation and analysis of motions. She has applied these ideas to both robots and disease causing proteins as the director of the Adaptive Motion Planning Research Group. Before UNM, Lydia was a Computing Innovation Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. She received a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University and a B.S. from Tulane University.
As a graduate student, Lydia successfully overcame two strokes, which caused her to lose her vision, mobility and the use of her arm. After a year-long journey of inpatient treatment and rehab that began with learning how to walk, pick up a pencil, write and type, Lydia was able to rejoin graduate school. This experience of achieving professional success in the face of personal challenges has driven Lydia to reach out to underrepresented minorities in research, including disabled, Native American, Hispanic and women students. She is also highly committed to introducing young scientists to research through research experiences for undergraduates and K-12 outreach.