UTRGV’s Karen Lozano named ‘Great Immigrant, Great American’ by Carnegie Corp. of New York

Photo: Dr. Karen Lozano, UTRGV professor of Mechanical Engineering and Julia Beecherl Endowed Professor, was named a “Great Immigrant, Great American” by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. (Courtesy Photo)

By Amanda A. Taylor-Uchoa

Edinburg TX – June 28, 2023 – The Carnegie Corporation of New York has named UTRGV’s Dr. Karen Lozano, professor of Mechanical Engineering and Julia Beecherl Endowed Professor, a “Great Immigrant, Great American.”

The Edinburg Advocate: Your best source for Edinburg CISD & Education News

Each Fourth of July, Carnegie celebrates contributions by immigrants to American life. This year, the foundation honors 35 naturalized citizens whose contributions and actions have enriched society and democracy.

Lozano, born in Monterrey, Mexico, came to the United States in 1994 and became a U.S. citizen in 2009. She graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1993 from the Universidad de Monterrey, where she was the only woman in her class.

In 1996, she graduated with an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University in Houston, and in 1999 received a Ph.D. in all Science and Mechanical Engineering departments, also from Rice. She was the first woman from Mexico to earn a Ph.D. from Rice.

The Edinburg Advocate: Your best source for Edinburg Community News

This year marks her 25th year working at UTRGV.

She said she does not know who nominated her for the Carnegie recognition, but hopes it shows other naturalized citizens that their efforts are valued and their dreams achievable.

“It is truly an honor, beyond the recognition itself,” she said. “This distinction serves as a powerful opportunity for me to convey an important message to our UTRGV students – that their hard work truly matters, their contributions will be seen, and that it is worth embracing challenges as they strive for excellence.”

The Edinburg Advocate: Your best source for Edinburg City News

The 2023 Great Immigrants are citizens from 33 countries of origin and a wide range of backgrounds and fields. Carnegie states that, immigrants for generations have come to the United States seeking opportunities for themselves and their families.

Among this year’s honorees are individuals who have fostered opportunities for others through their work as educators, mentors, philanthropists, job creators, public servants, storytellers, and advocates.

Lozano has been inducted alongside actor Pedro Pascal, computer scientist Timnit Gebru and Grammy winner Alanis Morissette.

All the 2023 honorees are recognized leaders in their fields. View a full list of all the inductees here.


This latest honor follows a string of recent recognitions for Lozano. In February, she was honored as the first UTRGV professor ever to be elected to the prestigious National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and one of only three Texans in this year’s NAE cohort of electees. She is also the first Mexican woman to be elected to NAE.

Lozano’s commitment to engage hundreds of undergraduate students from the Rio Grande Valley in high-tech research has resulted in more than 170 peer-reviewed journal publications; more than 500 presentations at local, national and international platforms; along with numerous patents and technology transfer opportunities. 

In November 2022, Lozano and her team brought home a Lone Star Emmy for the Spanish adaption of “Energy & U,” a collaborative film that includes chemical demonstrations and natural connections between energy and STEM education.

Lozano was inducted as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) in 2020, and her name will be on permanent display, inset on a plaque with fellow inductee’s names at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C.

Also, in October 2019, Lozano was honored by the White House – one of just 15 recipients in the country – with the 2019 Presidential Excellence Award in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

Lozano said the Carnegie recognition is a wonderful opportunity to show UTRGV students and the surrounding Valley communities that efforts to work hard are never in vain and that hard work does not go unnoticed.

“They have the power to make a difference,” she said. “I hope to serve as an inspiration for members of our community to recognize their own potential and to keep moving forward.

“Beginnings do not matter,” Lozano said. “Only the heart that you put into your effort matters. The heart has the power to make a difference.”

The recognition comes with a full-page ad that will run July 4 in the New York Times.

The Edinburg Advocate is your source for the City of Edinburg, Edinburg CISD, Edinburg community and Hidalgo County news. We are your Edinburg online newspaper.