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Jul. 13—A former Lewiston resident is now in charge of a college at a prestigious university.
Andrea Tapia has been named interim dean for Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology, effective Aug. 1, having previously worked as an associate dean for research and professor for the college.
She replaces Andrew Sears in the role, who accepted the deanship at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies. A national search for a permanent replacement is taking place this summer.
"Andrea brings more than two decades of experience in the college with her to the role, as a later and as a scholar in the field of information sciences and technology," said Penn State Executive Vice President and Provost Justin Schwartz in a statement. "I am thankful to her for stepping into this important position as interim dean and I know she will lead the college with energy and expertise."
Tapia added, "It will be a privilege to lead my IST colleagues as they prepare leading professionals and scholars who leverage technology and critical thinking skills to solve the complex challenges of an information society."
The daughter of Lewiston residents Blair Hoplight and the late Patricia Hoplight, and stepdaughter to Margret Hoplight, Tapia graduated from Lewiston-Porter High School in 1987. Her brother Craig Hoplight, who also lives in Lewiston, is an assistant wrestling coach for Grand Island High School. Her sister Blair Hoplight, who lives in Mount Vernon is an assistant professor at the New York Institute of Technology.
Tapia has served as assistant dean for the school since September 2021, driving the college's strategic research priorities, and fostering collaboration with institutional, federal and industry partners. She supports initiatives across the college's four primary research areas, data sciences and artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, privacy and security, and social and organizational informatics.
As interim dean, Tapia will oversee all aspects of the college's operations and its strategic priorities.
Tapia has served the college for 21 years, first becoming an assistant professor in 2002, promoted to associate professor in 2010, and becoming a full professor in 2019. She also served as director of graduate programs in the IST from 2015 and 2018 and professor in charge of the college's social and organizational informatics research area.
Tapia is a scholar in crisis informatics, whose research examines the way information technology impacts and is impacted by social, cultural, political, economic, and organizational structures. She aims to help emergency response organizations make use of citizen-produced data to create more accurate and timely information, transforming the way they operate.