Symposium Keynote Speaker

Keynote Speaker
Dr. Erika T. Camacho, 2019 Student Symposium Keynote Speaker

Dr. Erika T. Camacho

The intersection of adversity, resilience, tenacity, and models of photoreceptor degeneration: My story, passion and research

Tuesday, April 9, 2019, 1:15 pm – 2:30 pm in ACT 301

Dr. Erika T. Camacho grew up in East Los Angeles and was taught by Jaime Escalante at Garfield High School.  She received her B.A. in Mathematics and Economics from Wellesley College in 1997.  After earning her Ph.D. in applied mathematics at Cornell University in 2003, Dr. Camacho spent a year as a researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She then held a tenure-track faculty position at Loyola Marymount University before joining the faculty at ASU in 2007.   She was a 2013-2014 MLK Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She co-founded the Applied Mathematical Sciences Summer Institute (AMSSI) and co-directed other summer programs dedicated to the recruitment of undergraduate women, underrepresented minorities, and those that might not otherwise have the opportunity. She has been awarded theAAAS Mentor Award, the PAESMEM (Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring) from the White House, the Great Minds in STEM Education Award, theSACNAS Distinguished Undergraduate Mentoring Award, and the Hispanic Women’s Corporation National Latina Leadership Award among many others.

Dr. Camacho published the first set of mechanistic models addressing photoreceptor degeneration. While experimental physiologists have been working on this area for decades, Dr. Camacho has provided a new framework through which experimentalists can examine retinal degeneration. Herwork examines the mechanisms and interactions of photoreceptors that are critical to their functionality and viability with the ultimate goals of preventing blindness.  Dr. Camacho’s passion is to continue the work and legacy of her mentors: to create opportunities for those individuals from marginalized communities and make graduate education attainable to them through intensive research.She truly believes that education is what allows individuals to follow their passion, excel even when the odds against this are many, and realize their dreams.  In her own words, "STEM education is what allows us to shape and mold our lives and that of future generations to come. It is the biggest equalizer of life.” 

Page last updated 2:55 PM, March 19, 2019