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Celebrating Professor Anjelica Gonzalez, Yale Leader and "Triple Threat"

Anjelica Gonzalez photo

I’m thrilled to congratulate Anjelica Gonzalez, Tsai CITY'S faculty director, on her promotion to full Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science, effective July 1, upon formal approval by the Yale Corporation. Added to this wonderful news is my enthusiasm regarding Anjelica’s reappointment as faculty director of the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale (Tsai CITY) for a second term.

Anjelica and I have worked together closely since she joined Tsai CITY in 2020, and her insights and perspective have helped to guide and grow the center’s work. 

Last winter, Christian Robles ’23 interviewed me for a profile he was writing of Anjelica for a class. In the unpublished profile, which I quote with his permission, he pointed out that Gonzalez, who describes herself as a “triple threat” for being Black, Latina, and a first-generation college graduate, has also become a triple threat at Yale. He wrote, “Underneath her long list of accomplishments are steadfast commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), community, and entrepreneurship.” 

Working alongside Anjelica at Tsai CITY, I've had countless opportunities to observe these commitments in action. For anyone who doesn’t know Anjelica personally, I want to share a few examples of what she brings to Tsai CITY:

A lifelong passion for innovation. In 2013, Anjelica wrote in the New York Times, "My mother was the first innovator I knew." Her mother, a blackjack dealer in Las Vegas, not only taught her how to communicate and connect with people of all backgrounds, but also showed her how to find creative, low-cost solutions to problems. Today, Anjelica passes this knowledge on to student innovators and the Tsai CITY team.

Anjelica’s penchant for low-cost problem-solving came in handy when she visited medical facilities in Ethiopia and Malawi, and saw infants being treated with makeshift respirators made from soda bottles. With support from the Global Health Leadership Initiative at the Yale School of Public Health and students from her Biotechnology and the Developing World class, she offered a solution: PremieBreathe, a low-cost, low-tech respirator designed for infants with breathing difficulties – created with input from doctors in emerging economy countries.

Real-world experience as an entrepreneur. In 2019, Anjelica co-founded Aero Therapeutics to bring PremieBreathe to market. Drawing on her experiences developing a science-backed product, she conceived of and launched Tsai CITY’s Scientific Commercialization Program in 2022, which connects students with early-stage faculty innovators to explore potential ways to commercialize their inventions.  

A powerful role model as a woman in STEM. At Tsai CITY, we understand that diverse perspectives fuel innovative thinking, and Anjelica exemplifies this. In 2021, she was among  four faculty members selected to receive the inaugural Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award for Inclusion and Belonging. In everything she does at Yale, Anjelica creates an environment where people feel comfortable sharing ideas and experiences, asking questions, and taking on new challenges.

In her classes and her lab, Anjelica trains the next generation of scientists — and at Tsai CITY, she motivates students to find innovative solutions to real-world problems. We are so happy to benefit from her collaborative leadership for another term.


Special thanks to Yale senior leadership in the Office of the Provost and the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science for recognizing the impact Professor Anjelica Gonzalez has had in her career at Yale University and for supporting her appointment: Scott StrobelJeffrey BrockMichael CrairJosh Geballe, and Jenny Frederick. And with deepest gratitude for the Tsai CITY team who are always thinking innovatively about how best to support students in their experiential learning journeys: Kassie Tucker, Zoe Hunter, Matthew Gira, Rochelle Goodwin, Victor Padilla-Taylor, Abby Winslow, Sade Owoye, Jaclyn Dadio, Sean Plummer, Aishwarya Kuruttukulam, Zino Adjroud, Constance Greaves, Wendy Wojczak, Grace O'Keefe, and Jorge M. Torres!