Introducing Anthony Milana, Macey Scholar

Introducing Anthony Milana, Macey Scholar


Academic Standout Has Taken The Road Less Traveled

This is the fourth of four profiles of the 2016-17 Macey Scholars. This award is named for 1942 Tech graduate Bill Macey, who created the scholarship fund in the 1990s. The other three winners are Caralyn Coultas-McKinneyAndrew Gabrysiak, and Danielle Richards.  

SOCORRO, N.M. – Anthony Milana took a circuitous route to university. A native of rural Minnesota, he left high school to work in his family’s jewelry company. That gig didn’t last long, but he continued to work in jewelry sales for 15 years.

In his mid-30s, Milana caught the bug for science and engineering, largely thanks to conversations with friends in college. He first enrolled in community college in Minnesota, taking as many math classes as he could.  Although he was a great sales person, he realized that his true passion was engineering. While continuing to work 60 hours a week at the jewelry store, he spent all his free time learning algebra, trigonometry, and pre-calculus on Khan Academy. In two months, he went from having practically no math skills to testing into Calculus I.

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Anthony Milana

2016-2017 Macey Scholar


After spending several years at a community college, he discovered New Mexico Tech and saw it as a place where valedictorians go for a challenging and rewarding education.

Dr. Julie Ford wrote, “We describe Anthony as an ‘American success story’ and we are happy for the opportunity to share this remarkable story. Anthony is a 38-year-old high school dropout who never attended college, until recently. “

“From the first day Anthony stepped foot on our campus, he has shown initiative and a genuine interest in actively participating in the broader NMT community beyond the passive role of a student taking required coursework,” Ford wrote. “It was clear to both of us that Anthony was motivated to do well in his studies and learn as much as he could through coursework and hands-on opportunities, but that he also had an interest in contributing to the larger NMT student community.

Milana’s involvement in extracurricular activities is extensive. Not only does he hold a 4.0 GPA, but he holds several leadership positions in student organizations, some of which he was responsible for spearheading. He founded M-Lab with several other friends while he managed to get the signatures of 350 students and administration’s support.

Now, NMT has its first MakerSpace for student innovation which is a movement happening around the nation. He currently serves as the organization’s Vice President and also holds the role of Treasurer for the NMT Chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In August 2015 he founded the NMT chapter of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and currently serves as President.

Chris Langley, Director of Engineering Services at the NRAO, was among four people who wrote glowing recommendations for Milana.

“The best compliment I could say regarding Anthony is that he would be the kind of applicant I would very much like to see apply to my division at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory,” Langley wrote.

Milana has certainly made his mark with excellent academic performance. His nomination letters, however, highlight his demeanor, communication skills and engagement.

His advisor Dr. Michael Hargather wrote, “His personality truly stands out to me as an outstanding characteristic that can reach people of a variety of backgrounds and will be one of the reasons he makes such a positive impact on society in the future.”

He is an integral part of helping to organize a large OOE ceremony at the end of the semester. The goal is to get all graduating engineering seniors inducted to the Order of the Engineer and to increase awareness for the importance of professionalism and ethics among engineering students. Anthony’s accomplishments were recognized in February 2016 when the New Mexico professional chapter of NSPE awarded him the 2016 NMT Outstanding Engineering Student of the Year runner-up award.

In addition, Anthony is a member of Tau Beta Pi and Phi Theta Kappa honor societies. He belongs to several professional organizations including the Society of Collegiate Inventors, NSPE, ASME, the Society of Automotive Engineers, and the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

– NMT –