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Theresa A. Maldonado is Vice President of the Office of Research and Innovation in the Academic Affairs Division of the University of California Office of the President. She was formerly Dean and Riter Professor of Engineering at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), where she also holds a tenured appointment in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. Her academic career spans 29 years at four other universities: The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M Health Science Center, and the University of Texas at Arlington, with 18 of those years in university/research administration roles. She also served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Research in the Texas A&M University System.
In addition, Dr. Maldonado has extensive experience at the federal level in advancing engineering research, education, and commercialization initiatives. From Jan. 2011 to Oct. 2014, she was a division director in the NSF Engineering Directorate, responsible for a $130M budget in support of interdisciplinary research centers, research translation, innovations in engineering education, special initiatives in support of military veterans, broadening participation in engineering, and workforce development programs. Her initial appointment at NSF was in 1999 to 2001, when she was a program director in the Engineering Research Centers program and represented the Engineering Directorate on several NSF-wide committees. Before entering academia, As a member of technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Dr. Maldonado worked on optical fiber components and systems.
As a Mexican-American, Dr. Maldonado is the first one in her family to earn a college degree, and she was the first Mexican-American and only the fourth female to earn a PhD from the School of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech. Throughout her professional career, Dr. Maldonado has championed underrepresented groups in engineering. For example, she chaired and served on the Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE), which reports to Congress through the NSF Director; served on the committee that formed and launched the NSF ADVANCE program in FY2001; led a major focus, with accountability, on diversity programs and their impact in the NSF-funded Engineering Research Centers; facilitated the development of the NSF Professional Formation of Engineers (PFE) initiative focusing on department cultures that can negatively impact recruiting and retention of faculty and students from underrepresented groups; studied and funded projects at NSF on how to engage veterans in engineering studies as they separate from the military; and focused on revamping admissions and advising practices in engineering at UTEP, which is 78% Mexican-American, among many other initiatives and activities.
Dr. Maldonado earned her PhD, MSEE, and BEE with Highest Honors in electrical engineering, all from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and an AS degree in Mathematics at Macon Jr. College (now Macon State College). She is a registered Professional Engineer in Texas.