Rodolfo Jaime De Los Santos, 20, will graduate in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. On campus, he is involved in the Golden Key International Honour Society, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. In Summer 2014, he completed an Internship with the UT System Office of Facilities Planning and Construction where he gained experience in construction management while working on UTPA projects including the new Performing Arts Center, Student Academic Center, and South Texas Medical Academic Building. This summer, De Los Santos will travel to Lincoln, Neb. for an internship with the UTPA Transportation Center for Railway Safety to research the safety and designs of railways and bridges.
Awards/Honors: Dean’s List, Fall 2012-Fall 2014; Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, 2015; State Top 10% Scholarship, 2012-present; Hilda Cantu Garza Scholarship, 2012-2013; and Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Engineering Scholarship, 2015-2015.
What are your plans after graduation? I plan on attending graduate school for a master’s degree in civil engineering, and work in the field of civil engineering to gain the experience necessary to achieve a professional engineering license. Afterward, I want to study for a Ph.D. in civil engineering and open my own engineering firm.
Do you plan to stay in the Valley? Once my goals are accomplished and I begin my path as a professional engineer I would like to go wherever my engineering career opens doors and takes me in life.
What has your education done for you? I come from a family that didn’t have much as I was growing up. I was raised in a neighborhood where a higher education was not encouraged and gang violence and drugs were prevalent. I could have easily been involved. But because of my parents and a focus on gaining an education, I am the successful man I am today. I have learned that with an education you have power and, with that power, you can accomplish anything you want in life. My education is opening many doors for me and has shown me that having an education is necessary to live a successful life.
How do you feel about your UTPA experience? My experience has been a great one. The campus is beautiful and offers a great college environment for students. I feel I am getting the best assistance in my classes since they are small and allow the professor to develop a one-on-one learning experience with you. The University offers a great study environment at the library and access to a computer or printer is no problem. If you seek tutoring, UTPA’s Learning Assistance Center is available to all students.
What is your best tip for success? Find something you are passionate about and set a goal in life toward accomplishing it. Although the road may get rough don’t let it throw you off course because success often comes from failure.
What advice do you have for college-bound students? Prepare for many sleepless and stressful nights because the college experience is a rough path that not everyone can handle. However, just because it is a difficult path doesn’t mean you should feel discouraged since it is not always stressful once you adjust to the college level. I recommend joining organizations on campus since they allow you to meet new people, participate in community service, develop great leadership and social skills, and relieve stress after dealing with hours of studying.