A message from the Dean of the College of Engineering
Fifty years ago, the stereotypical engineer was a middle-aged white male with a pocket protector. Today, the face of engineering is changing and the stereotypes of what it means to be an engineer are quickly fading. In fact, perhaps the only thing common among engineers is that they are smart, and they have an analytical mind. The diversity among engineers is perhaps nowhere as evident as at UTSA.
UTSA serves South Texas and is the heartland of the fastest growing community in the country—Hispanics. As a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), UTSA’s College of Engineering (COE) clearly reflects this in its undergraduate population where almost 45 percent of the students are of Hispanic descent. The college also has a growing African-American and international representation, and we are very proud of this heritage.
Diversity is not limited to just ethnicity. The College of Engineering has a strong representation of students and researchers from all over the world. On any given day, a visitor to the college can expect to find people from more than 30 countries in its classrooms or labs. For example, Maryam Niknamfar, a graduate student in Electrical and Computer Engineering has come all the way from Iran to study at UTSA. Individuals like Maryam create a rich tapestry of cultures and traditions that promote learning and a wider view of the world. Perhaps the only thing these individuals have in common is a love for engineering.
The changing face of engineering is also reflected in our faculty who come from all over the world and are a celebration of ethnic, gender and national diversity. Dr. Krystel Castillo, an assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering embodies much of this diversity.
It is also true that in the past, people who came from humble socioeconomic circumstances had a hard time becoming engineers because they were rarely exposed to all career possibilities. This too is changing as is exemplified by the story of Tania Hernandez who is studying mechanical engineering.
In this issue you can also read about two great supporters of the College of Engineering, Mr. Ed Whitacre (former CEO of AT&T and General Motors) and Dr. Normam Jacobson, who have both donated funds to establish endowed faculty positions in the COE.
With so much change happening, it will be hard for me to leave. However, after serving as the dean of the college for about eight years, I have been promoted and will be serving as the Vice President for Research at UTSA starting May 2013. During these past eight years, the faculty, students and staff have made great strides and the college is flourishing. But, I firmly believe that the best is yet to come!
C. Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D., P.E.
Peter T. Flawn Professor
David and Jennifer Spencer Distinguished Dean’s Chair in Engineering