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Moisés Padilla
Moisés Padilla

Moisés Padilla Selected as Executive Director of the CMU Rales Fellows Program

Media Inquiries
Peter Kerwin
University Communications & Marketing

Following a comprehensive national search, Moisés Padilla has been selected as the inaugural executive director of the CMU Rales Fellows Program. This follows the announcement of the generous commitment of the Norman and Ruth Rales Foundation(opens in new window) to launch a fellows program with the mission to address the systemic shortfall of students pursuing advanced degrees in STEM fields, particularly among underrepresented and under-resourced individuals. Padilla officially joined Carnegie Mellon University on July 17.

Prior to joining CMU, Padilla was the director of the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), preparing first-generation, income-eligible students for postsecondary education and supporting their success in college. At UNL, he also served as the senior assistant director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the associate director of the Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services, supporting first-generation students and students from historically marginalized backgrounds as they transitioned to college. 

“Dr. Padilla has a wealth of experience in higher education, especially in relation to holistic student success and support,” said CMU Provost James H. Garrett Jr(opens in new window). “He has a deep understanding of the CMU Rales Fellows Program’s goals and needs, including the students it will serve, and the expertise required to launch a unique program like this one.”

Padilla received his bachelor of science in business administration and his doctor of philosophy in educational leadership and higher education at UNL, as well as a master of science in student affairs in higher education from Colorado State University. 

On joining CMU, Padilla said, “Carnegie Mellon is a special place and I look forward to becoming part of the community to assist with building a national model that empowers our next generation of STEM leaders.”

As executive director, Padilla will establish a team to bring this new program’s vision to fruition and provide ongoing overall strategic direction. Reporting directly to Vice Provost for Education Amy Burkert(opens in new window), Padilla will collaborate with leaders in the colleges and departments participating in the program and coordinate efforts to ensure successful outcomes for the program and its fellows. He will drive strategic partnerships with internal and external stakeholders, including corporate and recruiting partners such as the Ron Brown Scholar Program, as well as serve as a liaison with the Rales Foundation.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Padilla to CMU to lead the Rales Fellows Program,” shared Burkert. “In addition to his vast experience in helping students realize their greatest potential, he has a passion for the full impact a program like this can have. He is a leader with a proven track record of building and maintaining strong partnerships, which will be vital as we work with key collaborators across our campus to co-create the program, optimize the experience for its fellows, and advance our institutional aspirations in this domain.”

The Rales Fellows Program(opens in new window), made possible through CMU’s $150 million partnership with the Norman and Ruth Rales Foundation, aims to broaden access to STEM graduate education through fully-funded fellowships and generous stipends, and wraparound support including mentoring and professional development resources. It is a distinctive and transformative program dedicated to developing a diverse community of exceptionally talented national STEM leaders from underrepresented or under-resourced backgrounds by eliminating cost as a barrier to graduate education. The university eventually will host 85 to 90 CMU Rales Fellows each year and is preparing to welcome its first cohort in the fall of 2024.

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