As part of a partnership that has extended more than 10 years with The University of Texas-Pan American, The Boeing Company presented the College of Science and Engineering with a $50,000 check March 2 for the UTPA/Boeing Scholars program.
The funds are the part of a four year commitment made in 2002 to donate $200,000 towards scholarships for engineering and computer science majors and to help support other programs within the college including the school's student competition teams such as Mini-Baja and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) robotics.
Art Rosales, vice president of Boeing Satellite Systems and a member of the Engineering Advisory Council for UTPA's College of Science and Engineering, presented the check to Roland S. Arriola, vice president for External Affairs; Dr. Michael Eastman, dean of the College of Science and Engineering; and Dr. Edwin LeMaster, associate dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science.
Rosales said he started working with Pan Am 10 years ago when his group was part of the Hughes Aircraft Company which became part of Boeing in 2000.
"Our chief executive had a passion for diversity in the work force. We picked Pan Am because it had a high percentage of Hispanic students and they were just starting their program. It was good business to promote education because we need a pipeline of engineers to build our products," Rosales said.
Early support of helping in accreditation, donating lab equipment and providing internships has expanded under Boeing to also now include scholarship money and financial support for the school's competitive teams. Boeing has also made numerous permanent hires from UTPA graduates.
Forty-eight Boeing scholarships have been awarded since the fall 2002 semester for $1,000 to $1,500. They are competitively awarded to engineering and computer science majors based on grades and a student essay.
"It (the scholarship) means a lot. The support the Boeing Company is providing for us is great. It's a great relief not to worry about funds so you can concentrate more on your University studies," said Maria de Lourdes Garza, a senior from McAllen majoring in computer science and a Boeing scholarship recipient. She was among several Boeing scholars present at the check ceremony.
Eastman said the United States is going to need many educated and talented engineers to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
"Meeting this need is costly and not easy. Professors and universities by themselves can't do this job. We need partners that provide advice, external opportunities and financial support. Boeing is an outstanding corporate partner," Eastman said.
The cooperation required by the 16 nations involved in the ISS interested Izel Medina, a senior at Brownsville's Porter High School who attended the video conference.
"I found it very interesting how the many nations came together to make the one major project happen," Medina said. "It's a good idea because I think in the future that if the earth becomes overpopulated we might begin populating in space and migrating to space colonies."
Students from Edcouch-Elsa and Laredo High Schools also attended the event.
Rosales said that he felt every company should develop a relationship either in K-12 or the university system to help education. He explained the relationship is mutually beneficial.
"While we are happy to support the University, we are also happy to reap the benefits in terms of the intellectual property that you are creating here at the University," Rosales said.
For more information on the Boeing Scholarships, contact LeMaster at 956/381-3522.