UH Moment

UH Moment: “Pay It Forward”

How do you express gratitude for the success in your professional life, especially when that success comes through the help of someone else?  You pay it forward.  Listen to this week’s UH Moment.


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“Once I saw that I was given the opportunity to come here and become a scientist you naturally start thinking ‘can I help other people do the same thing,'” said Carlos Ordonez, University of Houston physics professor who, 30 years ago, received a life-changing gift—a chance to leave his native Panama where he excelled in physics and come to the US to study with world-class researchers.  Now internationally recognized Ordonez looks for budding scientists in Third World countries and matches them with top researchers in the U.S. for post-doctoral fellowships.

“My personal goal is to see that the person develops him or herself to the maximum capacity because I think the world is a better place once you see these things happening,” he said. 

Carlos Ordonez in front of his whiteboardSince his arrival in the U.S., Ordonez has help dozens of young scientists begin their lifework. His efforts have earned him the American Physical Society’s 2009 John Wheatley Award, which recognizes physicists who have contributed to the development of science in Third-World countries.

“As long as the person becomes sophisticated in science and educated, they can become almost anything they want,” he said.

Carlos Ordonez is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston.  I’m Marisa Ramirez.

Telling the stories of the University of Houston, this UH Moment is brought to you by KUHF, listener supported radio from the University of Houston.