There you are, up on stage, being handed the award you’d never thought you’d receive. Your mind is racing, your heart pounding, and you have the biggest smile on your face, like you just won the game of life.
Moments like that are rare for a person to experience, but one current Javelina student earned top honors from the Nueces County Chapter of the Texas Society for Professional Engineers (TSPE) back in February.
The student that received the Student Engineer of the Year award was Leonardo Garcia.
“What they’ll do is that there are a couple of awards, that, basically, during National Engineering Week every year, they will hand out to individuals,” said Garcia.
Garcia, from Brownsville, graduated in the top 10 percent of his class from James Pace High School in 2004. Though Texas A&M Kingsville was not his original choice, he transferred here after hearing good things about the university.
The experience he has received from being at A&M-Kingsville, as well as the self-marketing skills he’s learned from the faculty, will serve him well in the years to come, and it is actually the reason he won the award, he said.
“They mentioned what I had done in my studies, not just grades; like that I had done internships and projects,” Garcia said.
The award, he said, felt like the culmination of all the work he has done while in college. For him to receive honors like that at the end of his senior year, he said, was amazing. It also proves to himself that he’s ready to tackle the real world.
“I feel confident that I have something to offer the engineering industry. I have something that I can prove to them. I’m not worried or anxious about the job market,” Garcia said.
Three other Javelinas, now alumni, received honors from TSPE. Vincent Deases earned the Engineer of the Year award. Steven Deases earned the Young Engineer of the Year award. Jayce Mathews also earned the latter, but from the Houston chapter of TSPE.