Engineering graduate students receive $45,000 in transportation scholarships
LAS CRUCES — Nine New Mexico State University graduate engineering students have received awards totaling $45,000 from the Federal Highway Administration to support their transportation-related research programs. The students received Dwight David Eisenhower transportation scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $2,500.
Their skills are essential. A White House fact sheet on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act says that over the next five years, transportation professionals will be in high demand to use the $110 billion bipartisan investment. dollars in new funds for roads, bridges and major projects. This investment will repair and rebuild, replace and rehabilitate roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians. One in 5 miles, or 173,000 miles in total, of our major highways and roads and 45,000 bridges are in poor condition. Bridges in poor condition pose increased challenges in rural communities, which can often rely on a single bridge for the passage of emergency service vehicles.
“I am very happy that our students have once again been offered Eisenhower Transportation Scholarships,” said Lakshmi Reddi, dean of the College of Engineering. “Their success is a testament to the strength of our civil engineering department’s transportation program which has a long and recognized history. I am convinced that this support will allow them to access management positions in transportation careers.
The Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Scholarship Program (DDETFP) awards scholarships to students pursuing studies in transportation-related disciplines. “This program advances the transportation workforce by helping to attract the country’s brightest minds to the transportation field, encouraging future transportation professionals to seek advanced degrees, and helping to retain top talent. of the transportation industry in the United States,” the program’s website reads.
Candidates for the master’s degree in civil engineering received the most significant awards: Gregory Gonzales received $10,000 and Lucas Rivera received $8,500. Following them are civil engineering doctoral candidates William Toledo, $7,000; Andres Alvarez, $5,500; Saman Mostafazadeh Fard, $4,000; and Judit Garcia, $2,500. Three mechanical engineering doctoral students each received $2,500: Adam Bouma, Widad Yossri and Manuel Serrano.
“Since 2016, our engineering students have received 26 scholarships totaling $158,000. The continued support we have received from FHWA over the past six years illustrates the high quality of our engineering students and academic advisors,” said David Jauregui, Head of the Civil Engineering Department. “Scholarships offer much more than financial assistance. As part of the award, students are supported to attend and present at the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. At the meeting, students have the opportunity to network with transportation professionals from academia and the industry. Additionally, students are expected to publish their research in the form of a conference paper, journal article, or technical report that brings recognition to NMSU. Through these activities, students gain valuable research experience and interpersonal and intrapersonal skills that enhance their career opportunities.
Jauregui directs NMSU’s Bridge Inspection and Assessment Program, a nationally recognized program and an important resource for bridge assessment, bridge inspection training, and research and development at large scale for more than 40 years. The Civil Engineering program has performed bridge, culvert, and roadway inspections for the State of New Mexico for many years, which greatly contributes to the state’s transportation asset management planning.
“Scholarships like this are often life-changing for students like me. It is comforting to know that there are organizations willing to invest in mine and the education of my peers,” Rivera said. “My future plans involve completing my master’s degree, serving two years with the Peace Corps, and then pursuing a doctorate in civil engineering or early in my professional career in industry, I have yet to decide.
Rivera’s research involves moving from the laboratory to the field scale of a new, biology-inspired soil improvement technique called enzyme-induced carbonate precipitation to help solve the erosion problem faced in environments. desert and arid.
“My research focuses on the use of an ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) developed at NMSU and its use as rehabilitation concrete. This research stems from a project funded by the South Central States Transportation Consortium, which evaluated UHPC produced with local materials to rehabilitate deteriorated concrete bridge decks,” Toledo said.
After earning his doctorate, Toledo plans to pursue a career in academia to gain experience as an educator and researcher and contribute to his Native American community by becoming an engineering professor at a tribal university.
Garcia’s project focuses on finding new, cost-effective and environmentally friendly supplemental materials that will mitigate the cracking of concrete that decreases the life of structures and is a major problem in New Mexico. She is investigating a locally available natural material mined from a pumicite deposit near Española for its ability to mitigate cracking in concrete.
Garcia found the Transportation Council meeting particularly useful. “I was able to talk to many people about my research, their work and their research. It was nice to get feedback and look at research from a different perspective, as well as see research on issues I didn’t know existed. This conference helped me dig deeper into how to approach research as well as other career options I can turn to after graduation,” she said.
After earning her doctorate, Garcia plans to work in industry and earn a professional engineering license. “I want to gain experience and be very competent in my field. I would like to be a complete engineer who worked in the field as a project manager and also as a designer,” she said, adding that she would also like to open her own engineering company and maybe becoming a teacher to help the next generation tackle some of the country’s pressing transportation issues.
Linda Fresques writes for New Mexico State University Marketing and Communications and can be reached at 575-646-7416, or by email at [email protected]