Mechanical engineering junior recognized as STEM Scholar of the Week

Rigoberto Lopez, a junior in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University, is featured as Great Minds in STEM's Scholar of the Week for the week of June 27 through July 3.

Photo of Rigoberto LopezLopez is a 2010 HENAAC-NASA Johnson Space Center scholarship recipient.

Lopez began preparing for his college studies while still in high school. During the summers of 2004-06 he was enrolled in a Pre-Freshman Engineering Program (PREP) at St. Phillip’s College, the University of Incarnate Word and St. Mary’s University. In the summer of 2007, he attended a Texas Honors Math Camp at Texas State University. He also attended the Texas Academy of Math and Science and graduated high school with a 4.0 grade point average.

Lopez has been recognized for his academic performance. He is the recipient of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Research Award, a NASA MUST finalist, the recipient of a University of Texas at San Antonio Summer Research Scholarship and has been on the Dean’s List. In addition, Lopez has been involved in a number of research projects including a summer internship at the NASA Johnson Space Center, a summer at the Autonomous Control Engineering Laboratory at UTSA, and currently with the Mechanical Engineering Department at Texas A&M. This past summer he was awarded an internship with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Lopez was recently interviewed by Univision and shown on the “Lo Mejor de lo Nuestro” segment as a role model for the Hispanic community. Besides academics, Lopez has been actively involved in various extracurricular activities. He has volunteered to mentor young students at the UTSA Interactive Technology Experience Center. He is a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and along with SHPE members, visits local elementary schools to give presentations on STEM. He has also talked about his experiences and the importance of a higher education with students at his former middle school.

Lopez is the first person in his family to attend college. He says after graduation, he plans to work for NASA and devise a more efficient way for astronauts and machines to travel in outer space. He believes this will open up new opportunities to find clean energy and resources for humans on earth.

The Scholar of the Week is a weekly feature on the Great Minds in STEM website that individually highlights students selected from the pool of 2010 HENAAC Scholarship recipients. Scholars are presented as student role models to elementary, junior and high students at various outreach programs.