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Marquez named Most Promising Scientist
November 30, 1998

Manuel Marquez, a postdoctoral fellow in chemistry at UConn, was honored last month as "Most Promising Scientist" at the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference in Houston.

Marquez, who is also a research associate at Yale University and author of more than 40 publications, was recognized for his contributions to the field of chemistry and honored as a role model for young Latinos aspiring to become scientists. He was chosen from a national pool of 200 scientists.

For the past 10 years, the conference has paid tribute to outstanding Latinos making contributions in the fields of engineering, science, and technology.

This year's event featured Hispanic celebrities Martin Sheen, Elizabeth Pena, and Luis Avalos, and corporate executives Walt Braithwaite, vice president of Boeing, and George Foyo, president of AT&T's Latin American region.

A major goal of the conference was to promote scientific careers for young people from diverse backgrounds, says Marquez. At the conference, he told a group of high school students "no matter what background you come from, no matter what color your skin is, if you believe in yourself and your goals, you can succeed."

Marquez says that was his own philosophy for success when he moved to this country from Venezuela in 1991. He says he faced discrimination from the day he arrived.

He notes the dearth of minorities pursuing careers in the sciences. "You have to struggle against the stereotype that the only successful minorities are sports figures or celebrities."

Marquez has worked hard to advance educational opportunities for minorities interested in pursuing higher education. In 1991, he and two colleagues founded Ciencia y Hispanidad, a nonprofit organization designed to fund and place Hispanic graduate students in research fellowships at major American universities.

"I hope I can encourage others to do the best they can do," he says, "and not let stereotypes interfere with their goals."

Jennifer Ridder