Alan Ruiz, 23, plans to graduate from The University of Texas Pan-American with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in spring 2014. He served for two and a half years as membership coordinator of the MAES (Mexican American Engineering and Scientists) student organization. Ruiz has volunteered through the University with Habitat for Humanity to help build houses for people who need it. He also volunteered at HESTEC with MAES by selling shirts and food to help support the organization’s activities. Ruiz has travelled to several cities to participate in conferences and symposiums sponsored by MAES or HENACC, another STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)-related student organization. Ruiz is currently a student manager of UTPA’s Student Union.
Awards/Honors: Dean’s List, Spring 2013; and Student Union Dining Facilities Employee of the Month, Spring 2013.
What are your plans after graduation? I want to continue with my master’s in engineering management to get more job opportunities and focus more in quality control in a company. I am an international student, and I know that it’s hard for me to get a job here in the U.S. because we have fewer opportunities compared to citizens and residents, but that doesn’t put me down. I know that I will continue to follow my dreams and never give up.
Do you plan to stay in the Valley? I want to pursue a job and have a new life outside of the Valley. I just want to learn more, meet new people and have more opportunities. I know one day I will come back to focus on a getting a Ph.D. and my dream project of having my own research lab.
What has your education done for you? Since I was little, my parents always told me that the education is the most important part of our lives and having a degree will open many doors in your life. Also, in this case, my being bilingual will also benefit me. My parents are right, this is my last semester and I am ready to get into the real world and have a mechanical engineering job. I am excited about almost being done with a very important step in my life, which is to finish my bachelor’s degree.
How do you feel about your UTPA experience? UTPA is the best university, and I love it and the people who are here. I have become more involved in all the activities and events at UTPA by just working in the Student Union and it’s amazing! I notice that UTPA is really like my home and I will never forget all the experiences I have had and all the new people and, more importantly, friends that I have met since I started at UTPA three years ago.
What is your best tip for success? I’m always a positive person and I say to always be positive in everything because, for me, it works like that. It helps me a lot in school and also to be a better person every day. Also, to smile every day and enjoy life, and if an opportunity comes, don’t avoid it, just go and confront it.
What advice do you have for college-bound students? Never procrastinate; never leave all the homework or studying to the very end, because you will never be successful in life if you leave everything to the last minute. Also, you have to manage your time, because sometimes there is no time to do the things you want, like hanging-out with friends, your girlfriend or boyfriend, studying or doing homework; by managing your time, you will be able to enjoy everything.