Juan C. Meza, who graduated with three engineering degrees from Rice University, has been named director of the Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) at the National Science Foundation, as of Feb. 20.
Meza earned a B.S. and an M.S. in electrical engineering in 1978 and 1979, respectively, and a Ph.D. and M.A. in computational and applied mathematics (CAAM) in 1986, all from Rice. Meza served as dean of the School of Natural Sciences at the University of California at Merced from 2011 until this year.
From 2002 to 2011, he was department head and senior scientist for high-performance computing research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Prior to that, Meza served for 15 years as a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, Calif., and as manager of computational sciences and mathematics research.
In 2013, Meza received the Rice University Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award and was named to Hispanic Business magazine’s Top 100 Influentials in the area of science. In 2010 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was the 2008 recipient of the Blackwell-Tapia Prize and the SACNAS Distinguished Scientist Award. He was a member of the team that won the 2008 ACM Gordon Bell Award for Algorithm Innovation.
As DMS director, Meza administers programs with an annual budget of more than $230 million. The division’s mission is “to fund groundbreaking research in mathematics and statistics, and support education and training in the mathematical sciences.”