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College of Engineering | July 6, 2023

Honduran Engineer Héctor Chacón Harnesses UTEP's Expertise to Enhance Global Access to Safe Water

Honduran Engineer Héctor Chacón Harnesses UTEP's Expertise to Enhance Global Access to Safe Water


Héctor Chacón, a civil engineering graduate from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), is taking the spotlight for his outstanding dedication to improving global water accessibility. Originating from the small town of Tocoa in Honduras, Chacon's transformative journey has been influenced by his firsthand experiences with safe water initiatives, working alongside his father. Embarking on his academic path at the remarkable age of 16 at UTEP, Chacón 's formative years, including his time at the College of Engineering Center for Inland Desalination Systems (CIDS), have profoundly shaped his aspirations and fueled his determination to bring about meaningful change.

Growing up, Chacón found his greatest inspiration in his father, an alumnus of UTEP, who works for Water Mission, a nonprofit organization based in Charleston, SC, dedicated to providing safe drinking water to communities in nearly 60 countries. Through accompanying his father, Chacón witnessed firsthand the transformative power of safe water on people's lives. These experiences ignited a passion within him to follow in his father's footsteps and pursue a career in civil engineering, with a focus on water treatment. Chacón firmly believes that by leveraging his knowledge and skills acquired over the past four years, he can positively impact the lives of individuals worldwide.

Chacón 's academic journey at UTEP began at the remarkable age of 16, presenting him with a unique set of challenges. Not only did he have to adapt to a new country and culture, but he also had to master a new language. Undeterred, Chacón excelled in his studies and earned an academic scholarship that propelled him forward. Alongside his academic pursuits, Chacón 's determination led him to secure a position at CIDS, the prestigious water treatment research lab led by Dr. Shane Walker.

At CIDS, Chacón 's early start allowed him to immerse himself in cutting-edge research and practical experiences, further honing his skills and knowledge in water treatment technologies. His exceptional dedication and work ethic stood out, earning him the respect and admiration of his mentors and peers. Chacón 's early exposure to the research environment and hands-on work provided him with a solid foundation for his future endeavors.

Reflecting on his journey, Chacón expresses his gratitude for the opportunities afforded to him at the College of Engineering and CIDS. "UTEP has provided me with a transformative educational experience. Starting at a young age and adapting to a new country and language were challenging, but I am grateful for the support and encouragement I received from the university community," Chacón shares. "Working at CIDS has been a remarkable experience that allowed me to grow both personally and professionally. I am truly thankful for the chance to contribute to cutting-edge research and make a meaningful impact."

Looking ahead, Chacón 's next step is pursuing a master’s degree in civil engineering at UTEP, beginning in the upcoming fall semester. He will continue his work at CIDS while embarking on a project that is likely to form the basis of his thesis. Chacón 's ambitions extend beyond his graduate studies as he aspires to contribute to a water treatment design firm. By aligning his expertise with his goal of making safe water accessible to all, Chacón seeks to be at the forefront of engineering solutions that address global water challenges.

Héctor Chacón’s inspiring journey exemplifies the impact of combining personal experiences, academic pursuits, and real-world engagement. Starting at UTEP at the age of 16, he navigated unfamiliar territory with unwavering determination, mastering a new language and excelling in his studies. With his unwavering commitment to providing safe water to underserved communities, Chacón is poised to become a leading figure in the field of civil engineering, embodying the ethos of the Emerging Engineers, Class of 2023 series.

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