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 postdoctoral research associate 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 has co-directed various summer research programs, dedicated to the recruitment of undergraduate women, underrepresented minorities, and those that might not otherwise have the opportunity.
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 retina degeneration. Her work examines the mechanisms and interactions of photoreceptors that are critical to their functionality and viability with the ultimate goals of preventing blindness.
Her leadership, scholarship, and mentoring have won her many national and regional recognition including the SACNAS Distinguished Undergraduate Mentoring Award, the Hispanic Women Corporation National Latina Leadership Award, one of 12 Emerging Scholars by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, one of the 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40 Award, the Victoria Foundation Higher Education Outstanding STEM Award, the ASU Faculty Women’s Association Outstanding Faculty Mentoring Award, and many more. Her national service is exceptional and ranges from mentoring to Associated Editor for the journal of Bulletin of Mathematical Biology to Board member for SACNAS and many other advisory boards.
She has been profiled and featured in multiple media outlets including Univision Nightly Spanish News in a two-part segment entitled “Erika Camacho’s Inspirational Story”, the SIAM News “The Intersecting Lives of Two Mathematicians in East L.A.”, in three SACNAS News Feature Articles “Leadership”, “Building Confidence”, and “Fixing the Leaky Faucet: A Discussion on Women of Color in STEM with Children”, Latino Perspectives Magazine “Camacho stands and delivers”, and Voces magazine “I am the American Dream: Erika Tatiana Camacho, Ph.D.”. She has been interviewed on CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News as part of a segment in honor of her high school teacher Jaime Escalante and in PBS Arizona Horizonte for her HWC Leadership Award.
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.