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STEM Career Panel


Jul 7, 2021 05:42 PM

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Gwendolynn Fine, MHA, MBA
Senior Engineer, Quality Assurance @Johnson & Johnson; IINSPIRE alumnus
Gwendolynn D. Fine was born and raised in Gary, IN. From a young age, Gwen has loved science and research. After graduating from West Side Leadership Academy, Gwen accepted the Bridge Scholarship to the University of Northern Iowa. Gwen majored in Biology and was able to perform research through the UNI-National AG-Based Lubricants Center and worked in the Student Worker program at John Deere Waterworks in Safety and Quality until graduation. Gwen worked at Tyson Fresh Meats in Waterloo, IA as a Microbiologist/Chemist in the laboratory, performing sterility and potency testing on different meats and lards. In 2015, Gwen moved to Indianapolis to complete her Master’s in Healthcare Administration from University of Saint Francis. While in graduate school, she worked for Indiana University Health in the Molecular Biology Pathology Laboratory as a Medical Technologist II before being transitioned to the Office of Compliance, Accreditation, and Quality as a Quality Assurance Coordinator.
Syamala Neeraja
Software Developer @Thoughtworks; IISNPIRE alumnus
During Syamala's undergrad career, she had the opportunity to give a presentation on being a woman of color in Computer Science at the IINSPIRE LSAMP Conference in her second year. Syamala also conducted research and was avidly involved in student government which resulted in a deeper passion for social change and policy. Outside of school, she did an internship with a healthcare data scientist expanding her skillset in data analysis as well as a software engineering internship with Slate magazine. Syamala recently started her software career as a full-time developer with Thoughtworks, Inc at the Chicago, IL office. She is ecstatic to be a member of the IINSPIRE alumnus community and cannot wait to speak with you about her journey and answer any questions you may have about starting your career in STEM.
German Saltar-Rivera
Doctoral Student, Aerospace Engineering @University of Illinois Ubana-Champaign; PR-LSAMP alumnus
German is an Aerospace Engineering graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus. From 2015 to 2018 he was involved in compressor cascade boundary layer research. He was an EID Coop intern in GE Aviation at the Early Identification Program during 2016 and 2017. In 2018, he pursued a summer internship at the Goddard Space Flight Center in camera boresight metrology uncertainty reduction for the NASA’s Restore-L space flight project. German has been awarded the NASA-John Mather Nobel Scholarship and the NASA PR Space Grant Fellowship from 2018-2020 to study Lagrangian coherent motions emanating from crossflow jets. In 2020, he was awarded the NSF GRFP, Aspire fellowship, Illinois Sloan scholarship, and was named a Mavis Future Faculty Scholar.
Paul Faronbi (moderator)
Mechanical Packaging Engineer @Nestle Purina; Co-Founder and President, National Association for LSAMP Alumni (NALA)
Paul Faronbi was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and he emigrated to the United States at the age of 4 with his family. He grew up in St. Louis, MO, and graduated with his B.S. in Chemical Engineering and minor in Biomedical Engineering from Iowa State University in December 2016. He conducted research at Iowa State all 8 semesters he attended and also completed one summer research experience at Iowa State with IINSPIRE LSAMP funding. He also worked at Cargill as a Co-op at Soybean Crush Facility and Refinery where developed his first industrial experience, and at Nestle USA where he obtained manufacturing experience at Stouffer’s and Lean Cuisine Frozen Foods facility. After graduation, he completed about 2 years of rotations in Process Engineering, Maintenance, Reliability, and Team Leading at General Mills in Albuquerque, NM. Paul currently works for Nestle Purina as a Mechanical Packaging Engineer in St. Louis, Missouri.