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Theresa A. Maldonado

Theresa Maldonado

Associate Vice Chancellor for Engineering, Deputy Director, Texas Engineering Experiment Station, Texas A&M University System
Associate Dean for Research, Dwight Look College of Engineering, Texas A&M University, USA
Country of origin: USA

At the time I earned my BEE degree in 1981, optical fiber communications was really taking off. I worked in industry from 1981-1986 doing R&D in optical communications technologies such as optical fiber design, cabling, and installation as well as the connector hardware and metrology. I earned my MSEE degree in 1982 with an emphasis in optics, thanks primarily to one of my professors, Dr. Tom Gaylord, at Georgia Tech. I returned to Georgia Tech in 1986 to work with Dr. Gaylord on my PhD. Dr. Gaylord was an inspiring professors, and he was very caring. I was his first female PhD student, and he was just wonderful, especially when I had a child a half year before graduating.

I went into academe after completing the PhD in 1990. Academia certainly offers a challenge in time management with teaching, research, and service as well as raising a family, However, at the same time, it offers more flexibility than working in industry, at least based on my experience. I took the opportunity to work at the National Science Foundation from 1999-2001. That experience was exciting in that I met so many people from around the country, and I had the opportunity to see the research and education landscape in a broader sense. Since then, I have had wonderful opportunities in administration. I have been at Texas A&M University since 2003. I oversee research activities in the College of Engineering (Assoc. Dean) as well as nurture partnerships with many other universities through my Vice Chancellor and Deputy Director positions. One of my primary role is to provide leadership in moving interdisciplinary research forward.