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New UTEP Engineering Dean Looks Forward to Building Opportunity

Last Updated on November 01, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Originally published November 01, 2017

By Lauren Macias-Cervantes

UTEP Communications

Engineers may be known for designing and building machines, but new College of Engineering Dean Theresa Maldonado, Ph.D., looks forward to building possibilities.

New College of Engineering Dean Theresa Maldonado, Ph.D. Photo by UTEP Communications

"I love the opportunity of being here," said Maldonado, who was appointed dean and professor of electrical engineering effective July 1, 2017. "My parents grew up in border towns; my dad went into the military to get out. I feel like this country needs us – the Latinos, the Hispanics. We need to inspire, embrace and empower Hispanics to be leaders in this country more than they are, and I hope I can really contribute to that because there is so much intelligence and capacity. I just want to build opportunities for these students."

Maldonado most recently served as founding senior vice president for research, innovation and economic development at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

“We are delighted to have a leader of Dr. Maldonado’s experience and stature join our team at UTEP,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “She is uniquely prepared to lead the students, staff and faculty of the college and their inclusive vision to advance engineering locally, nationally and globally.”

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 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.

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. She 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.

“Dr. Maldonado’s record exemplifies academic and administrative excellence, and she is passionate about providing access to excellent engineering educational opportunities for the students we serve at UTEP,” said Howard Daudistel, Ph.D., former interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, who was responsible for hiring Maldonado. “Her broad experiences in industry, at multiple campuses of The University of Texas System, on the U.S.-Mexico border, and in Washington, D.C. lend valuable perspective to the work she will do in El Paso.”

Maldonado wasted no time in getting to work. She has been meeting with faculty and external key stakeholders, building her administrative team and discussing with her counterparts in other colleges how the College of Engineering can collaborate with them.

“I am extremely excited about the future of the College of Engineering and UTEP,” Maldonado said. “We have made great strides that have paved a positive trajectory. Our location, our expertise and our students make for some invaluable regional, national and international resources that can develop into additional untapped opportunities.”