PAOLA SEVERINO

Analytical Chemist, GCP Applied Technologies

Age: 24

Heritage: Dominican

 

Notable Accomplishments:

  • Yale Latin@ Alumni Prize Spring 2015

  • Science, Technology and Research Scholar Fellow Spring 2014 - 2015

  • American Chemical Society Scholar, Fall 2011 - May 2015

  • Richter Summer Research Fellowship Summer 2013

  • Stacey Leondis SY'08 Summer Fellowship Summer 2013

  • Charter member of Omega Phi Beta, Inc. at Yale

 

By: Alejandro Ramirez

 

Paola Severino solves mysteries for development and construction sites. When two compounds don’t work together, or a mixture goes awry, the analytical chemist at GCP Applied Technologies--a construction and building materials company--analyzes and experiments on the samples to determine the cause of the problem

 

Severino gravitated to science from an early age, inspired by summer programs at New Jersey Institute of Technology that encouraged women to pursue careers in the STEM fields.

 

“Having someone to push me and help me realize that all of these places, all these careers are possible for a woman like me--it was important to have those programs,” she said.

 

A Dominican-American from Union City, NJ, Severino was accepted to Yale for her undergraduate studies. However, compared to her predominantly Latino hometown, the Connecticut Ivy League felt foreign.

 

“Being a student of color on any college campus can be really difficult in a number of ways--mentally, emotionally, socially,” she said.

 

On campus, she became involved with La Casa, a multicultural center, worked as a peer liaison to help Latino freshman, and participated in organizations like the Latin dance team and Dominican student group.

 

These social groups gave her “a way to find home.”

 

Today, Severino notes she is still one of the few Latinas at her office and the only Latina in Research and Development. Outside of work, she mentors young Latinas that are currently studying STEM or interested in the field.

 

“My priority is to help them keep that passion alive, even when it gets tough,” she said.

 

Severino graduated in 2015 with a chemistry degree, and in 2016 came to Boston to work for GCP. Severino admits that at first she was scared to move so far away from her family, who resettled in Philadelphia. But after realizing how many opportunities Boston Offered scientists, she knew it was the right move,

 

“It’s a real exciting time to be a scientist in this area.” she said. “There’s always something happening, and always an opportunity to be a part of that.”

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El Mundo Boston 2018.