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The third woman UTRGV professor named engineer of the year


Ena Capucion


The Great Minds in STEM has recognized UTRGV Professor Karen Lozano as the Engineer of the Year. She is the third woman

to receive this award in 27 years.

The nonprofit organization was established in 1989 to focus on STEM educational awareness programs for students beginning

from primary education to their career. GMiS, formerly known as the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corp.,

honors the best and brightest Hispanic engineers, scientists and technology experts across the nation.

Lozano, a Julia Beecherl Endowed Professor in mechanical engineering, successfully took part in conducting research and

innovations to create the university’s first startup company, FibeRio Technology Corp. According to the company’s website, they

are a supplier of cost-effective and high-throughput nanofiber production systems powered by Forcespinning technology.

Nanofibers are a new class of material being applied to medical inventions, filtration, insulation and energy storage just to name

a few.

In 2002, Lozano was a junior faculty member and received a HENAAC award as the Most Promising Engineer.

“It’s funny because I received the [award] and they didn’t make a mistake back then because now, about 10 years later, I

became Engineer of the Year,” the professor said. “I felt some pressure back then because if [HENAAC] thought I can achieve

something, now I have to prove that I can.”

The GMiS awards are based on nominations in almost 25 different categories, two of which are hand selected by the HENAAC

committee, the Engineer of the Year and the Scientist of the Year. When Lozano found out about her second nomination, she

assumed it was for one of the normal categories.

“It was really surprising, I wasn’t expecting Engineer of the Year,” Lozano said. “I was really honored by that recognition. I feel


While Lozano isn’t too fond of the limelight, she finds it necessary to spread the word about women having the ability to be

successful in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math.

“I think the most important thing is education because no one can take it away,” the Rice University graduate said. “I guess

growing up, being in a non-traditional field for females, I was told many times, ‘Oh, you’re just going to marry and have kids.’”

Despite receiving one of the most honorable awards from HENAAC, Lozano takes pride in her students who manage to move

up in life.

“Every time one of my students receives a job offer or gets accepted into a tier-one university, that for me is a huge

accomplishment,” the mechanical engineering professor said. “I think all of those individual accomplishments by my students

are what is giving me these rewards. I was chosen to go on stage to acknowledge and thank people but it’s a lot of the students

that contributed to have the [committee] choose me.”

Lozano and 24 other winners will be recognized next month at the 27th annual HENAAC, scheduled Oct. 14-18 in Pasadena,


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