Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Student Receives Top Honor from Regional Chapter of Texas Society of Professional Engineers

KINGSVILLE - February 18, 2010

Contact: Adriana Garza
adriana.garza@tamuk.edu or 361.593.4979

Laura Marie Ortiz is not your typical college senior. The Orange Grove native spends all her down time studying to keep up her 3.97 grade point average. She decided to change majors her freshman year from pre-pharmacy to civil engineering because her original major did not include enough math for her liking.

Ortiz’s hard work and commitment to success have earned her the distinction of being selected as the Student Engineer of the Year by the Nueces County chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. Ortiz will be honored at a banquet Saturday, Feb 20 at the Corpus Christi Town Club.

“I feel like I need to continue to work hard so I don’t let the people who selected me for this award down,” Ortiz said.

Since discovering that engineering was the right choice for her, Ortiz, 21, has dedicated herself to civil engineering—a degree she believes will best allow her to serve her community in the future.

“Civil engineering is such a varied field that gives you the opportunity to design structures and facilities that help communities,” Ortiz said.

In a field where women have historically been underrepresented, Ortiz said the lack of women engineers serves as inspiration. Last semester, undergraduate and graduate female students accounted for about 18 percent of the total enrollment at the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering at A&M-Kingsville.

“Often I’m one of two to three girls in some of my engineering classes,” Ortiz said, adding that she plans to work toward promoting engineering as a career for women in the future. “Women have so much to contribute to the engineering field.”

Ortiz credits the faculty and staff of the Dotterweich College of Engineering with helping her to succeed.

“They are all very happy and are always there when you need them,” Ortiz said. “I don’t think I would have gotten that at a bigger school.”

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