About Us

Mariachi Luna Llena was started by Alberto Rodriguez at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Mariachi Luna Llena became an official Rice University organization on October 3rd, 2013 with the generous support of Dr. Richard Tapia and Mr. David Medina. Since its beginning, Mariachi Luna Llena has shown its quality; in its first public performance, Mariachi Luna Llena won first place at the Rice International Fest on October 19, 2013. In the past, Mariachi Luna Llena has performed in private events throughout the Houston area including the State of the Harris County Address, Houston’s former Mayor Annise Parker’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration and as an opening act before the Grammy-winning rock band Los Lobos at Miller Outdoor Theater in 2015.



Dr. Richard Tapia

Richard A. Tapia, University Professor and Maxfield-Oshman Professor of Engineering, Rice University was born in Los Angeles to parents who emigrated from Mexico when they were children, seeking educational opportunities. He was the first in his family to attend college, earning his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles. Due to his efforts, Rice University has received national recognition for its educational outreach programs, and the Rice Computational and Applied Mathematics Department has become a national leader in producing women and underrepresented minority Ph.D.s in the mathematical sciences. Dr. Tapia’s major research contributions have been in the area of computational optimization, both linear and nonlinear programming, where he pioneered the exploration and settlement of the important computational methods in numerical optimization known as primal-dual interior point methods. Tapia has authored or co-authored two books and more than 100 mathematical research papers, and is currently authoring a graduate level textbook on the foundations of optimization. Dr. Tapia has been named one of 20 most influential leaders in minority math education by the National Research Council; listed as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the U.S. by
Hispanic Business magazine (2008); and given the “Professor of the Year” award by the Association of Hispanic School Administrators, Houston Independent School District, Houston, Texas. In 2005, Tapia was elected to the Board of Directors for TAMEST, comprising the Texas members of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. In 2009, Tapia received the Hispanic Heritage Award for Math and Science. In 2011, President Obama named Dr. Tapia one of the recipients of the National Medal of Science, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on scientists and engineers.
Mr. David Medina

David D. Medina is the director of Multicultural Community Relations at Rice University. Medina also writes feature stories for the award-winning Rice University Magazine and edits the newsletter Rice At Large. As director, he works at enhancing relationships between minority communities and Rice. He has worked as a reporter for the Austin-American Statesman, the Dallas Times Herald, the Houston PostThe Wall Street Journal and Newsweek magazine. Medina received a B.A. in Spanish from Drake University, an M.A. in Spanish from Rice University, and an M.S.J. from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He also studied in Barcelona, Spain and at the University of Colorado at Boulder and received his high school diploma from the Chinquapin School. Medina taught Spanish for two years at St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas. Medina was honored with a DiversityFIRST Award from the Texas Diversity Council. The award recognizes Medina as one who has “demonstrated outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, marketplace and community” and “demonstrated exemplary leadership.” He received the 2011 Bronze Quill award for social responsibility. He also received the 2010 Willie Velasquez Hispanic Excellence Award for education from the Tejano Center for Community Concerns and Houston TV station Telemundo. He received the 2010 Diversity Champion Award from the Association of Chinese-American Professionals. Medina was recently selected to serve on the Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Board. He is also serving as a fellow of the 2010-11 class of the American Leadership Forum’s Houston/Gulf Coast chapter. He served three years as president of the Houston Hispanic Forum. He was co-chair of the 2009 Diversity Summit in Sugar Land.  He is a former president of the Houston Association of Hispanic Media Professionals and a former vice president of the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education. He is a board member of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, and a former board member of Ser Niños Charter School. He is on the advisory board of the Chinquapin School and Inprint. He has also coached YMCA soccer and basketball and little league baseball. He is married and has two children, both graduates of Rice University.


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