The University of Texas at El Paso
"We need to advance scientific knowledge and engage effective discussions about technology and science. By including minorities in the education process in science, the scientific community gains valuable insights from different viewpoints."
- Ignacio Tinoco, Jr., Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley
The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), which occupies a distinctive national niche in serving Hispanic students, and consistently ranks as one of the top five U.S. schools in graduating Hispanic engineers, has received national acclaim for its extraordinary achievements in science and engineering education and research. In 1996, the National Science Foundation named UTEP a Model Institution for Excellence (MIE), one of only six minority-serving institutions selected nationwide to create new models for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Ignacio Tinoco, Jr., a renowned professor of chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley and a member of UTEP's MIE Advisory Board, has praised UTEP for its tremendous contributions to increasing the number of underrepresented minorities who earn STEM degrees.
As a role model for the Hispanic community himself, Tinoco understands how a minority influence can lead to a greater range of perspectives and stimulate higher levels of complex thinking.
In a nod to UTEP's success in broadening participation in science and engineering fields, Tinoco and his sister and brother, Mary Lou Gomez-Leon and Edward Tinoco, established two endowments to support deserving students at the university: the Ignacio and Laurencia Tinoco Scholarship Endowment for the College of Science and the Ignacio and Laurencia Tinoco Scholarship Endowment for the College of Engineering. Both are invested in the Long Term Fund. The endowments pay tribute to the memory of their parents, who raised their children in a household where attaining a college degree was expected. "We created these endowments to honor our parents' belief in education and to ensure that others, especially students from underprivileged backgrounds, would have the same encouragement and opportunities that we had to excel in our studies," Ignacio Tinoco, Jr. said.
|Ignacio Tinoco, Jr|
Ignacio Jr., who holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin and was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale, has achieved the heights of success in his field. He is credited with helping to lay the chemical biology foundation in nucleic acids that still endures at UC Berkeley today. In 2001, he was named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Mary Lou Gomez-Leon, a 1967 UTEP alumna, retired after 32 years as an El Paso music teacher. She continues to share her love of music as a volunteer accompanist and teacher at local schools and churches. Edward Tinoco received a master's in aeronautics from Stanford University. He pursues his gift for scientific investigation as a Technical Fellow in Enabling Technology and Development for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Kent, Washington.
"Not only did our parents advocate the importance of higher education within our family, they also understood that education should be made more accessible to everyone," Gomez-Leon said. "They would have been extremely pleased to know that their legacy will continue to create opportunities for future generations."