Meet Niner Engineer Paulina Salinas Hernandez

Categories: General News

Paulina Salinas Hernandez, a senior double majoring in electrical engineering technology and German, moved with her family to the United States from Mexico in 2020.

“I chose UNC Charlotte because my dad’s job was in Charlotte, and I wanted to stay with my family but also because the campus is so beautiful and the international student program is great,” Hernandez said. “Now, although my family is back home in Mexico, UNC Charlotte continues to feel like home.”

Hernandez credits her father as one of the main reasons she chose to study engineering.

“He is a very successful engineer and always encouraged me and my sisters to do engineering,” she said. In high school, Hernandez participated in a robotics club and FIRST competitions, in addition to taking engineering classes and seminars. She also visited engineering companies in Germany and Mexico. “I’m still figuring out my career goals, but I know that engineering was the right decision and I’ve had so much fun so far.”

Group of interns at TE Connectivity
As a Product Development Engineering intern with TE Connectivity in summer 2023, Hernandez (third from right) worked with the E-mobility team, Charging Inlets for Electric Vehicles.

As a monitor in the Area 49 Makerspace, Hernandez helps patrons with the usage of the technology in the space, including 3-D printers and sewing and embroidery machines. “What I love about the Area 49 Makerspace is that it is available to every major at UNC Charlotte,” she said. “With different backgrounds and perspectives, everyone takes a different approach when creating a project, no matter how small a project is, so I get to learn a lot from everyone who comes into the space. That is not only so interesting for me, but it has helped me learn adaptability, open-mindedness and many other invaluable skills.”

Hernandez, who is also enrolled in concentrations in electromechanical systems and applied energy, is a recipient of the Lynn G. Bellenger Engineering Scholarship from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.  This scholarship “not only helped me and my family with the financial responsibilities,” she said, “but its acknowledgment of my achievements was a powerful motivator, confirming that my dedication and hard work in engineering have not gone unnoticed.”