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National Science Foundation

Dr. Karen Lozano

Karen Lozano is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas – Pan American (UTPA). After earning her undergraduate degree from Universidad de Monterrey, Lozano moved to the United States to study at Rice University. She earned her doctorate in 1999. She was the fifth woman in 25 years to earn a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering/Business Administration at UDEM and then the first woman from Mexico to earn a Ph.D. from Rice University in the Science and Engineering fields. In 2000, Lozano was hired as a faculty member at UTPA, making her the first woman, and for several years afterward, the only female faculty member in several engineering departments.

Since joining UTPA, Lozano has been awarded 44 grants and has 23 patents/patent applications. Together with fellow mechanical engineering faculty member Dr. Kamalaksha Sarkar, Lozano invented a more efficient way to produce nanofibers. This landmark invention led to the creation of UTPA’s first startup company, FibeRio, and garnered the University two grants from the UT System’s Texas Ignition Fund The company has provided employment opportunities for Rio Grande Valley residents and UTPA graduates with hopes of growing its workforce to 250 people within the next five years. Along with her impact on the region, UTPA has also recognized Lozano’s dedication to mentoring students with the 2012-13 college-level Excellence Award in Mentoring.