STEM Professional of the week

Paloma A. Diaz Candelas      
General Electric

Raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Paloma Diaz-Candelas was born with a condition known as Hypotonia, a medical disorder that left her in a state of low muscle tone for most of her young life. While some would consider this a setback, for Paloma, it would prove to be just another obstacle to overcome. With the support of her family and friends, she worked hard to conquer the issue through physical therapy, courage and a positive attitude.

With her health back in order, Paloma was now able to clearly focus on school. She knew that working hard was the only option she had if she wanted to succeed. Throughout her school years, she applied herself, earned good grades and took on extracurricular activities. In high school she was involved in a variety of clubs, including sports, dancing and Honors Societies. Paloma also took part in community service events either through church or school, leading events such as Relay for Life Team, trash clean up, and feeding the homeless. It was during this time that she discovered her passion for solving problems and building things.

By her senior year in high school, Paloma was committed to pursuing a bachelor’s degree in engineering at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM). While in college, she was part of the leadership team of the UPRM’s Alpha Pi Mu Chapter (Industrial Engineering Honors Society) and she worked on several research projects. Before finishing her last year of College, Paloma was accepted in the OMLP (Operations Management Leadership Program) for General Electric (GE) Power & Water, where she undertook various leadership roles within Supply Chain Management. It was during this time that Paloma was identified as a potential leader at GE while most people her age were still trying to figure out what to do in life.

She showed her leadership chops in several programs, and after graduating she accepted a job as a Supplier Quality Engineer for GE based in Greenville, South Carolina. This job meant, she would manage supplier activities to ensure the quality of gas turbine components. She would also be the person in charge of coordinating the design and materials engineering functions while interacting with suppliers.

Paloma also finds time to give back. She is a co-leader for the Community Service team in GE’s Hispanic Forum in Greenville. Most of her projects are focused on Health and Education for which she has partnered with groups such as Greenville’s Hispanic Alliance and Junior Achievement in the upstate. She is also leading projects to help raise funds for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to help fund College Education for Hispanic Students.

This past October, Paloma was recognized by Great Minds in STEM with a Luminary Award at the HENAAC STEM Career Conference.

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