About 60 students learned about the new information age and how to handle the challenges and opportunities it presents from two members of The University of Texas-Pan American Foundation Board during a recent forum.
Ed Rivera, Access Money Card chief financial officer, addressed the current digital/knowledge revolution and its impact on engineering. Ed Muñoz, Muñoz Investment Banking Group principal, examined cultural diversity management, global job opportunities, the importance of selling skills and his own career experiences.
According to Rivera, engineering in the United States has developed rapidly since its beginnings in the mid-1800s. It is an honorable, interesting profession full of change and opportunity.
"It takes a special person to be an engineer," he said. "I think the discipline of engineering will move from a stove pipe attitude to lateral thinking with more breadth and depth. I envy you right now because you are at the threshold of something big."
Engineering's rapid development in the recent decades parallels that of the current society. The growth of the Internet, increased business competition and more personal freedom are just some of the forces shaping people's lives today.
Looking ahead, Rivera believes information - not "infrastructure" but "infostructure" - will become crucial, and other trends like simulated-based learning and profiling will shape and impact society. But regardless of what lies ahead, his consejos (advice) is to be honest, take risks, work hard, learn through failure, speak up, think big and respect one another.
"Only one person can limit you, and that's yourself," Rivera said.
Meanwhile, Muñoz explained how he broke career and personal barriers as a Hispanic. The top things he learned through his experiences were culture (be proud of who you are), geography (be willing to relocate, even to another part of the world) and leadership (communicate and mutually respect one another).
Today, students must remember these qualities toward overcoming new obstacles, no matter how tall or difficult they may be.
"The barriers you face will be higher and more challenging than those ... Ed or I have faced," he said. "But that's what keeps things interesting and part of what makes things fun."