UTEP College of Engineering Dean Theresa Maldonado, Ph.D., is highlighted in a recent online magazine feature as a Hispanic woman who overcame the odds to become an engineering leader and now encourages and supports other Hispanic students interested in pursuing similar field.
The article in Vision magazine, a digital business publication based in Maine, tells the story of how some of her former teachers discouraged Maldonado from pursuing math and science.
She persisted in spite of their discouragement and became a successful researcher and engineer who now leads a college at The University of Texas at El Paso that enrolls a majority of Hispanic students.
In 2017, Dr. Maldonado was named Dean of the College of Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering. Previous to her arrival at UTEP, Dr. Maldonado served as founding senior vice president for research, innovation and economic development at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
When she took over at UTEP, Dr. Maldonado said, “I am very excited about this opportunity to serve as dean of engineering at UTEP, especially at this time of rapid changes in our profession and our demographics. I have observed the tremendous, impactful growth in education and research at this university since I launched my academic career in 1990. President Natalicio is a globally recognized leader in higher education, and she clearly has established a strong foundation here to move forward in innovative and critically important ways.”
Starting her engineering career at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Maldonado went on to earn a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and pursue research and teaching at The University of Texas at Arlington. She earned tenure there and was promoted to professor, taking on administrative roles as an associate dean of engineering and then associate vice president for research.
She also has served as associate dean of engineering at Texas A&M University, associate vice chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, and division director at the National Science Foundation (NSF).
With a distinguished career as an expert on optics, Maldonado has published her work in the Journal of the Optical Society of America, the Journal of Lightwave Technology, and Applied Optics. She has competed successfully for millions of dollars to fund research and education from federal and state sources, primarily from the NSF and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Dr. Maldonado has received numerous awards for teaching, research and leadership, including the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the NSF, the NSF Director’s Award for Program Management Excellence, and Outstanding Teaching Awards from both her department and college at UT Arlington.