Living in the twentieth century we often take for granted the little things in life, such as the right to get an education and become what we choose. Many individuals did not have it so easy. Women and minorities, a class I took in the spring of 2001 with Dr. Sarah Greenwald at Appalachian State University, took a closer look at the struggles and success of many mathematicians around the world. These mathematicians encountered many obstacles, such as racial and gender discrimination which they would have to overcome in order to achieve their goals.
One man whose determination and desire proved to be an impeccable characteristic which helped him to surpass many racial obstacles and unfortunate circumstances to become one of the greatest Hispanic mathematicians was Richard A. Tapia. Despite being teased as a child, having to overcome his wife’s illness of multiple sclerosis, and the death of his oldest child, Tapia has proven that he is truly a prime example of what a great mathematician should be.