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College of Engineering | July 22, 2022

Engineering Faculty, Staff, Students Recognized at Annual Meeting

Engineering Faculty, Staff, Students Recognized at Annual Meeting


The University of Texas at El Paso’s College of Engineering recognized a contingent of standout faculty, staff and students from this academic year during its traditional faculty and staff meeting April 29, 2022.

The event acknowledged new faculty and staff members, retiring professors, and saw the distribution of the college’s faculty and staff awards. In addition, attendees received a snapshot of the college’s successes throughout the last year such as continued growth in the number of degrees awarded. The College of Engineering marked a 5% year-over-year increase in the number of graduate degrees awarded, while undergraduate degrees also grew by 5%.

The end of the 2021-2022 academic year also marked the close of Patricia Nava’s time leading the college. Nava, Ph.D., served as interim dean for more than two years. In April, UTEP named Kenith Meissner, Ph.D., as the new dean of the College of Engineering. His start date is Aug. 3, 2022. Meissner comes to UTEP with a robust history of service in the private sector and academia, having most recently served as Pro-Vice Chancellor/Executive Dean and as professor of Science and Engineering for Swansea University in Wales.

“It was an immense pleasure to serve the UTEP College of Engineering,” Nava said. “I am pleased that we continued to provide our students with outstanding education that included impactful research experiences and professional development. The college is primed to continue its mission to improve the El Paso region and help UTEP expand its reach as America’s leading Hispanic-serving university.”

2022 College of Engineering Awards and Recognitions

Faculty and Staff

  • Staff Excellence Award: Sandra Franco Amparan, Business Center specialist, dean’s office, Engineering Business Center
  • Research Excellence Awards: Kelvin Cheu, Ph.D., professor, Department of Civil Engineering; Amit J. Lopes, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Industrial, Manufacturing and Systems Engineering
  • Instructional Excellence Award: Shailendra K. Varma, Ph.D., professor, Department of Metallurgical, Materials and Biomedical Engineering; Miguel Cedeno, Ph.D., assistant professor of instruction, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
  • Service Excellence Award: Shalayna Smith, Ph.D., professor of practice, Department of Metallurgical, Materials and Biomedical Engineering


  • Top Ten Senior: Maximo Sebastian Gamez, engineering innovation and leadership
  • UTEP National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship: Sandra Gabriela Gomez, mechanical engineering
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship: Caitlin Benway, mechanical engineering; Brittany Rodriguez, engineering leadership
  • GEM Fellows: Jesus Marquez, electrical engineering; Cory Marquez, mechanical engineering; Bertha J. Chavez, electrical engineering; Joshua Zamora, computer science
  • Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration Graduate Fellowship Program: Ariztbe Villadolid, mechanical engineering
  • Engineering Student Leadership Council new chairs: Zayra Dorado, biomedical engineering; Daniela Duarte, metallurgical and materials engineering; Emily Solem, civil engineering; Leslie Trujillo, metallurgical and materials engineering

College of Engineering Communications

[Engineering News Archive]