When Elaine Gomez was selected as a prestigious Gates Millennium Scholar in 2010, everyone expected great things from her. Seven years after her graduation from Union City High School, Elaine is delivering on her early promise, and then some.
She recently received an equally prestigious three-year National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to research methods to reuse carbon dioxide (CO2) that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere and add to pollution.
As a Gates Scholar, she receives full education funding for her entire academic career. After graduating with a 4.0 GPA at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Elaine had her choice of Princeton or Columbia Universities and selected Columbia where last year she earned a Masters Degree and is now a Ph.D. candidate in the Columbia Engineering Department and working with Dr. Jingguang Chen, the Thayer Lindsely Professor of Chemical Engineering.
Looking back on her time at Union City High School, Elaine says she has “extremely fond memories” and adds that her experience there “shaped me to be the person I am today.”
Elaine says both she and her husband (Luis J. Mendez ’10), who is an advanced engineer for Exxon Mobil, are “very grateful to have Ms. (Nadia) Makar in our lives and we attribute our success to her patience, dedication, and kind encouragement.”
Ms. Makar is the STEM Supervisor for UCHS. “We are all so proud of Elaine,” she says, “and of all of our alumni.”
Elaine adds that without the support of “Ms. Makar and the Union City Board of Education, I wouldn’t have had the great opportunities that gave me the special skills that set me apart from other students…I participated in AP/Honors courses, college credit courses, SAT prep courses, ACS Project SEED, and various science fairs at little to no cost to my parents.”
Superintendent of Schools Silvia Abbato, on behalf of the entire school district, congratulated Elaine on her many accomplishments and noted that Ms. Makar has developed an exceptional STEM program that is turning out future scientists every year.
(photo courtesy of http://www.njit.edu/features/student/elaine-gomez.php)
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