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Patricia “Itzel” Rodriguez
Patricia “Itzel” Rodriguez, president of the local Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers branch, has been awarded their Alan C. McClure Graduate Scholarship. | Image: Courtesy of Patricia “Itzel” Rodriguez

Patricia “Itzel” Rodriguez, a senior in the Department of Ocean Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been named the 2021 recipient of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers’ (SNAME) Alan C. McClure Graduate Scholarship.

“I know that my professors were really pushing for me,” Rodriguez said. “And it feels amazing to know that there are people out there who support me. It really does mean something that my education means a lot to them too.”

Named after an innovator and pioneer in the field of maritime arts and sciences, the Alan C. McClure Graduate Scholarship is part of the SNAME Graduate Scholars Program. It is awarded to student members of the organization in good academic standing with a minimum of two years of service seeking to pursue graduate degrees in the fields of naval architecture, marine engineering and/or ocean engineering.

For Rodriguez, it serves as a foundation to her doctoral degree at Texas A&M, where she will be harnessing her lifelong fascination with ships with a focus in naval architecture.

Rodriguez joined SNAME in her sophomore year as soon as she entered the ocean engineering department. Serving that year as an underclassman ambassador, she quickly got acquainted with and learned the dynamics of the professional organization. In her junior year, she served as vice president and now she serves as the president of the local student branch.

“I like that SNAME introduces us to the professional side of the industry,” she said. “You don't really get to see that a lot in the classroom. And being able to interact with other students in the organization has been impactful. I've met a lot of people from New Jersey, from Greece from Mexico. Just being able to meet other students who are in the same situation as you, just from a different geographic location, is like, ‘Wow, so we really are all on the same metaphorical boat.’”

SNAME is a global society for maritime and ocean professionals with more than 6,000 members in 95 countries around the world. It works to advance the art, science and practice of marine-related professions through the global exchange of knowledge and ideas, engineering education, and encouraging and sponsoring research and development.

Throughout the year, the local branch hosts company talks for which industry representatives are invited to speak on what they do and how they work. Interviews are also set up for students who show interest in pursuing an internship or work opportunity with the visiting companies. The branch also puts on social events, such as an annual barbecue in November. Additionally, all members — student and professional alike — are offered the opportunity to converge and meet with other members from around the globe at SNAME-hosted professional conventions.

“I would certainly give our ocean engineering organizations and research a shot,” Rodriguez said. “There's a lot you can get out of them by participating in them even if they’re not advertised as much or even just giving them a listen from time to time.”
Learn about Patricia "Itzel" Rodriguez's life and experience. | Video: Texas A&M Engineering