Paloma Alcala

6/2/2020 4:05:42 PM

Paloma Monserrath Alcala is the recipient of the Stanley H. Pierce Student Award. She is studying Materials Science and Engineering and anticipates graduating this year.

Throughout her collegiate career, Paloma has undertaken several organizational roles within The Grainger College of Engineering. She is the technical chair and lead of the Midwestern Robotics Design Competition for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the vice president of the Engineering Ambassadors.

She conducted research on frontal polymerization with the Sottos Research Group, led by Dr. Nancy Sottos, is a member of the Morrill Engineering Program’s Welcome Committee, and interned with Natural Fiber Welding, Inc. Aside from her involvement as a Grainger student, Paloma is a member of Dancing Illini and a self-described “plant mom.”

“Being recognized provides a sense of honor to continue paving forward a bright future for myself and all other scholars I am able to help along the way,” she said. “Winning this award represents my transition from feeling insecure the moment I stepped on campus to blossoming a more well-rounded person. A truly observable process.”

Upon graduating from Illinois,Paloma would like to gain years of industry experience in consumer products before resuming her educational endeavors. 

“I want to pursue an MS/PhD program in Material Science or Mechanical Engineering,” she said. “Regardless of my career trajectory, I plan on continuing to be an engineering ambassador for the Latino community.”

In the future, she said she will consider receiving the Stanley H. Pierce Student Award as a critical point in her development as an engineer as she begins a new chapter as an entry-level engineer. The financial support from the award will also help her to invest in the supplies needed for her academic activities.