Gina Zavala Alvarado, a senior metallurgical and materials engineering major at The University of Texas at El Paso, is the first Miner to earn the Ellwood Metallurgy Scholarship and internship. Photo: Truman J. Word
Gina Zavala Alvarado, a senior metallurgical and materials engineering major at The University of Texas at El Paso, was recently named the recipient of the nationally competitive Metallurgy Scholarship and internship awarded by the Ellwood Group.
Alvarado is the first Miner to earn this honor that recognizes deserving and talented metallurgical engineering students who exhibit an interest in the heavy metals manufacturing industry.
The Ellwood Group provides industry expertise in steelmaking, forging, machining, welding, casting and distribution. The company manufactures and markets metal working components to an array of industries worldwide to include oil and gas, aerospace, defense, transportation and infrastructure among others.
Alvarado will receive a $15,000 scholarship along with a paid internship at one of Ellwood’s U.S. business units during the summer of 2021. The purpose of the scholarship is to promote the study of materials science and metallurgical engineering.
Stella Quiñones, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Metallurgical, Materials and Biomedical Engineering and UTEP Distinguished Teaching Professor Freeport-McMoRan Distinguished Chair in Metallurgical Engineering, praised Alvarado for being an active classroom participant even through remote learning. Quiñones said she was impressed by how Alvarado led class discussions in a focused, professional and helpful manner. She added that the student often asked intricate questions that elevated her peers and made them more marketable for industry.
Outside the classroom, Alvarado is a member of the Metallurgical, Materials and Biomedical Engineering (MMBME) Student Advisory Board who has helped students through the current challenges of virtual learning. She said communication between students as well as with faculty is critical to their success.
“Gina is one of the top students in the metallurgical and materials engineering program, and this is not solely due to her outstanding academic performance … Gina is the perfect choice for the Ellwood scholarship and will benefit greatly from the internship experience that is a component of the scholarship,” Quiñones said. “She is the ideal student to represent UTEP as she embarks on this outstanding professional experience.”
Alvarado said her interest in materials science and metallurgy stemmed from her love of science, specifically chemistry and physics. She shared her fascination with how science relates to materials and added that she believed that there will be opportunities in the future to create new alloys through metallurgical engineering to meet people’s needs and enhance daily life.
The aspiring engineer said she hoped that her Ellwood internship would reinforce the concepts she has learned through her materials science and metallurgical engineering courses, and involve her in industrial applications. She said she was excited to get hands-on experience and to learn from industry professionals who will serve as her mentors. She said that her UTEP education and training prepared her well for this opportunity.
Alvarado said she plans to use her scholarship to pursue master’s and doctoral degrees.
“This opportunity feels like years of effort are finally paying off. I feel extremely happy and honored to be the first UTEP student to be awarded the Ellwood internship and scholarship,” Alvarado said. “This opportunity will help my academic and career aspirations tremendously as I will gain invaluable experience and financial assistance to continue my education. I think I will be able to learn and implement new engineering concepts from this great opportunity, so that after graduation, I can become a successful engineer with a more focused and sought-after expertise.”
Author: Christina Rodriguez – UTEP Communications