Growing up, Lydia Tapia was curious about computers, but didn’t have much interest in what would eventually become her area of expertise: computer science.
An Albuquerque native, the now-professor and incoming chair of the Department of Computer Science was actually more interested in biology. One of her first exposures to computer science was when she was a student at Sandia High School and became involved in the New Mexico High School Supercomputing Challenge.
“My friends and I signed up because we were strong math students and we got a trip to Glorieta [New Mexico],” she said. “I didn’t even know how to code!”
When she asked her father for a computer, she had her heart set on what she thought was then the state-of-the-art: a Commodore 64.
“He got me a Commodore 128, and I was so disappointed,” she said. “I didn’t realize the 128 was actually a better computer than what I’d asked for!”
When she was a senior in high school, she was an intern at Sandia National Laboratories through the Career Enrichment Program. Although she found some of the projects interesting, she wasn’t convinced that a career in computer science was right for her.
Even though she wasn’t set on a career in computer science, she began..... Continue reading.