Andrea Palomo Saavedra

Outstanding Collegiate Member

Andrea Palomo Saavedra, Outstanding Collegiate Member, Headshot

Andrea Palomo Saavedra

University of California, Berkeley

For developing creative ways to involve undergraduate students in SWE; for expanding SWE’s reach by forging connections across campus and beyond; and for commitment to research in sustainable methods. 

Andrea Palomo Saavedra of Copán, Honduras, is studying bioengineering and materials science and engineering at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). She is passionate about empowering women to reduce the gender gap in engineering, especially in underdeveloped countries such as Honduras, where accessibility to high-quality education is not easily attained. Palomo Saavedra conducts biomaterial research in the Kumar Lab, where she studies how different brain-mimetic microenvironments affect Glioblastoma (GBM) brain cancer invasion. She is studying the synthesis procedure to manipulate functionalization of the brain-native polymer, hyaluronic acid (HA), which is used to create an array of hydrogels for GBM tumor invasion assays.

She joined the UC Berkeley Society of Women Engineers collegiate section as a first-year student and has participated on the social committee, served as historian, and mentored underclass and high school students. She also served as section secretary (FY20) and led the marketing team, where she oversaw the chairs of public relations, webmaster, and social media and supported their efforts to increase the section’s visibility across campus. As secretary, she helped to launch the section’s podcast, “That’s What SWE Said,” which provides a platform to empower, connect, and further engage the organization and the overall engineering community on campus, especially when in-person interactions are not always possible.

The SWE podcast has listeners from around the U.S., India, Taiwan, Germany, South Korea, France, Australia, and Honduras. Palomo Saavedra recruited guests, including UC Berkeley SWE alumni and current officers, UC Berkeley faculty, and women CEOs. She is currently the section’s mentorship chair and leads UCB SWE’s existing undergraduate and professional development mentorship programs, in addition to piloting the section’s first academia mentorship program.

Palomo Saavedra is working to start the first SWENext club in Latin America at Western International School of Honduras, where she attended middle and high school. She wants to inspire girls to explore engineering and technology, and embrace and follow their interests in STEM through SWENext.

On campus, she is also involved in the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), Hispanic Engineers and Scientists, and the Bioengineering Mentorship program. Outside of Berkeley, she is a research team member of Sustenta Honduras, a youth organization that works in environmental and sustainable development. Here, she works alongside two faculty members from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Peru to find solutions to poor waste management in Honduras, especially in the agricultural and livestock areas, to decrease carbon emissions. Palomo Saavedra is also part of the Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit organization involved in education and advocacy about climate change, where she received training to become a Climate Reality Leader.

Palomo Saavedra is passionate about coffee processes and reduction of coffee waste for which she interned at COHMASA, a coffee exporter in Honduras. She worked in the quality control department and coffee lab as a quality control intern. In the past, she was also involved in coffee quality and consumer research at UC Davis Coffee Research Center. She enjoys trying new specialty coffees from her hometown and analyzing their flavor profiles through coffee cupping. She enjoys beach trips and brunch with her family and friends, and loves reading and cooking in her free time.

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