Dr. Cristina Villalobos is Professor in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (SMSS) at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Founding Director of the Center of Excellence in STEM Education, which focuses on strengthening STEM academic programs and providing resources for the academic and professional development of students and faculty.
Dr. Villalobos has over 15 years of experience teaching mathematics courses in higher education. Her research area is in optimization, optimal control, and modelling, and she has acquired over $6M in grants in STEM Education. In addition, she has been recognized at the national level for student mentoring and STEM leadership with the 2013 Distinguished Undergraduate Institution Mentor Award from the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and a 2012 HENAAC Luminary Award from the Great Minds in STEM. She is also a recipient of the 2013 University of Texas Regents Outstanding Teaching Award and recently received the 2016 American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education Service/Teaching Award. She also served on the SACNAS Board of Directors (2015-2017). Dr. Villalobos served as Interim Director of SMSS from 2015-2017 transitioning the School through the first two years of UTRGV. She is a Ford Foundation Fellow. Dr. Villalobos was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and received her Bachelors degree in Mathematics from the University of Texas-Austin and her Ph.D. in Computational and Applied Mathematics from Rice University in 2000.