Garcia Lab

Garcia Lab

Garcia Lab

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Left: Hike in Arizona; Middle: Neuron reflection in the eye (photo by the incredible Alyssa LeFaro); Right: Fun at the beach in Australia.

Tanya P. Garcia, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Biostatistics, UNC Chapel Hill

As a child--born in Lima, Peru and raised in San Jose, California--I loved fitting together jigsaw puzzles for hours. Years later, at university, my love for puzzles took new shape in the form of solving statistical problems. Once, as an undergraduate student, a professor challenged me to model the infection rate of a disease among a population. On my short drive home from Irvine to Costa Mesa, California, I began iterating through different solutions in my head. I was so fixated on solving the problem, I became oblivious to the road signs and only two hours later realized I had driven to Los Angeles! At that moment, I knew I wanted a career in statistics.

I pursued graduate statistics training at Texas A&M University, where I discovered a genuine excitement for accurately modeling the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s. As a faculty member, I combined that excitement for modeling with my interest in career coaching to train the next generation of (bio)statisticians to confidently develop and test models for clinical use. How I mentor this next generation is not only motivated by 500+ hours of leadership training, but also by my experiences as one of the few Hispanic, female biostatisticians. I teach my lab members to embrace a growth mindset and tackle obstacles without judgment or fear. My desire for every lab member to achieve success and fulfillment drives my every leadership decision. These decisions have led to earning multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health and receiving the 2022 Carolina Women’s Leadership Council Faculty Mentoring Award and the 2024 Landis Mentoring Award for Outstanding Mentorship from the National Institutes of Health. Outside of UNC, I lead initiatives for national statistics organizations, and since 2018, I have served as a mentor for the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program, which fosters the success of underrepresented and early career (bio)statisticians.

Awards

  1. Landis Mentoring Award for Outstanding Mentorship Recipient, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health (2024)
  2. Elected Fellow, American Statistical Association (2024)
  3. Gertrude M. Cox Award Recipient, Washington Statistical Society and Research Triangle Institute (2024)
  4. Provost Distinguished Leader, UNC Chapel Hill (2023-2025)
  5. Visiting Scholar, International Visitor Program, The University of Sydney Mathematical Research Institute, Sydney, Australia (2024)
  6. Lead Workshop Organizer, "Bridging statistical strategies for censored covariates," Banff International Research Station, Banff, Alberta, Canada (2024)
  7. Featured in Carolina Scientific at UNC Chapel Hill (2023)
  8. Delta Omega Honorary Society Member, UNC Chapel Hill (2023)
  9. Featured in UNC Research Endeavors (2023)
  10. Tyson Academic Leader, UNC Chapel Hill (2023-2024)
  11. Carolina Women's Leadership Council Faculty Mentoring Award Recipient (2022)
  12. Honorarium Speaker, Girls Talk Math Workshop (2021)
  13. Featured in AMSTAT News Hispanic Heritage Month (2020)
  14. Sigma Xi Member, Texas A&M Chapter (2020)
  15. Inaugural Speaker, Bioinformatics Research & Application Symposium, Texas A&M University (2019)
  16. Plenary Speaker, 39th International Symposium on Forecasting (2019)
  17. Fellow, Mentoring Institute for Neuroscience Diversity Scholars (MINDS) (2017-2018)
  18. Travel Award Recipient, Southeastern Conference (SEC) Grant Program, Texas A&M University (2016-2017)
  19. Travel Award Recipient, 14th Meeting of New Researchers in Statistics and Probability (2012)
  20. Plenary Speaker, Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Symposium, Texas A&M University System (2012)
  21. Travel Award Recipient, SACNAS National Conference (2012)
  22. Travel Award Recipient, Roadmap for a Succesful Academic Career Workshop (2012)
  23. Gertrude M. Cox Scholarship Recipient, American Statistical Association Caucus for Women in Statistics (2011)
  24. Phi Kappa Phi Member, Texas A&M Chapter (2011)
  25. Honorable Mention, Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship
  26. Travel Award Recipient, Emerging Researchers National Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (2011)
  27. William S. Connor Award Recipient, Texas A%26M University (2010)
  28. Travel Award Recipient, Building Future Faculty, North Carolina State University (2010)
  29. Travel Award Recipient, Negotiating the Ideal Faculty Position, Rice University (2010)
  30. Teaching Assistant of the Year in the Sciences Award Recipient, University of Western Ontario (2006)
  31. Summa Cum Laude Graduate, School of Physical Sciences, University of California, Irvine (2003)
  32. Mathematics Departmental Service/Undergraduate Service Award Recipient, University of California, Irvine (2003)
  33. Outstanding Senior in Mathematics Award Recipient, University of California, Irvine(2003)
  34. Phi Beta Kappa Member, Univeristy of California, Irvine (2003)
  35. Ronald E. McNair Scholar, University of California, Irvine (2002-2003)
  36. Leadership Scholarship Award Recipient, University of California, Irvine (2000-2002)
  37. The National Dean's List (2000-2002)
  38. National Society of Collegiate Scholars Member (2001)
  39. National Hispanic Scholar Finalist (2000)