Argentine American finds success as STEM educator at Yale University
A woman who came to the U.S. from South America decades ago found success as an educator at Yale University.
Dr. Maria Eugenia Panero was born in Argentina and came to the U.S. at age seven.
"It was quite a shift in culture and, of course, language,” she says.
Dr. Panero hoped one day to leave an indelible mark on the new world around her without forgetting the old world that shaped her family's traditions.
"I would come home from school and tell Mom everything that I did in English, and then she would have me repeat it in Spanish so that I would remember the language,” she says. “And then we would have our traditional foods at home.”
Dr. Panero now imparts STEM values on some of the most gifted teens from all over the world at the Yale University Young Global Scholars Program.
"STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics — and I think that one of the reasons it's at the forefront is because those fields really touch our lives every day,” she says. “Most recently with COVID-19, all of the scientists that used a lot of technology and their engineering and mathematical background to create the testing, the vaccines and the medicines that they're now testing."
Dr. Panero, who's been featured on CNN and in Time Magazine, is proud of her diverse background and is not just limited to STEM. She got her PhD in psychology and has done research in the fields of acting and the performing arts.
She says her rich Hispanic heritage has influenced her family, career and love for singing.
“We made sure to keep a lot of our culture and come back to it,” she says.
Dr. Panero is paying forward her success by helping young people from all around the world achieve their dreams.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal has praised Dr. Panero for her work.
“Through her passion for STEM, Dr. Maria Panero is using her Hispanic heritage in a very productive and beautiful way — making not just her own parents proud, but the parents of all the young people who benefit from her background at the Yale Young Global Scholars Program,” he says.
Dr. Panero says she wants to be “a light to the rest of the world and an example."
"I know we often talk about a lot of the problems and issues and ways that we can be even better -- but the fact that we can talk about those things and work on those things, it really just makes America a wonderful place to be,” she says.