Delegate of the Week

Paulina Quinonez      
University of Texas at El Paso

A natural-born scientist, Paulina Quinonez has always had a passion for exploring the unknown. Inspired to pursue a STEM degree by her high school chemistry teacher, she enrolled at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in December of 2015. Now pursuing a Master of Science in Metallurgy & Materials Engineering at UTEP, she explains her love for the STEM fields, “STEM is so important to our society because it’s what inspires people to be innovative and solve problems.”

Since she began attending UTEP, Paulina has pursued developing her talents and skills as a researcher. In the Fall of 2014, she won first place at the Materials Research Society Poster Presentation in Boston, Massachusetts. The following year, she placed second at the Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) Research Poster Competition in Pasadena, California. Shortly after, she was presented an Undergraduate Award for Academic and Research Excellence by UTEP.

In addition to her academic endeavors, Paulina has used her time at UTEP to become involved in her community. At her university, she has worked as both an Undergraduate Research Assistant and a Graduate Research & Teaching Assistant. Beyond her work at UTEP, Paulina has served as a Supplemental Instructor Facilitator at El Paso Community College, tutoring students in a wide range of chemistry courses. Furthermore, she has completed internships with the Environmental Protection Agency, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and most recently, Lockheed Martin.

Paulina later became more involved with GMiS when a colleague suggested she apply for a scholarship through the organization, and in 2018, she was selected as the recipient of the Leticia S. Montiel Memorial Scholarship. She notes, “One of the most important experiences that I've had as a student of an underrepresented community in the STEM fields is learning that there are people looking to help students achieve their academic and professional goals.”

In Spring 2019, Paulina volunteered with GMiS at the 2019 CCDC HBCU/MI Design Competition hosted on the UTEP campus. This experience further strengthened her desire to help others pursuing STEM careers. Paulina was later selected to be a Delegate for the 2019 GMiS Conference, an opportunity that let her connect with STEM peers and professionals from across the country. She elaborates, “This was the first Conference I had ever attended that really got my foot in the door in networking with companies and realizing how many opportunities were out there.”

In addition to her technical excellence, Paulina possesses a positive attitude that makes her an exemplary role model for others. She explains, “I believe that a day without smiling is a wasted day, so I try to smile and laugh as often as I can.” Great Minds in STEM would like to thank Paulina for her hard work and dedication to the STEM community and is proud to recognize her as Delegate of the Week.

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