Four Engineering Seniors Win Statewide Accolades

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. Feb. 16, 2010 – Four New Mexico Tech seniors were honored with statewide awards at the annual conference of the Society of Professional Engineers in Albuquerque on Friday, Feb. 12.

Caitlin Allen added to her list of accomplishments with the top award, Engineering Student of the Year. Honorable mention winners were Clay Beevers, Nikos Arechiga and Robert Blakney. The top prize included a cash award. Also at the banquet, the New Mexico chapter gave awards to the top engineering students at the University of New Mexico.

 Tech students, professors and administrators attended the Society of Professional Engineers conference to accept awards. From left are Dr. Tom Engler, Dr. Peter Gerity, Robert Blakney, Dr. Michaelann Tartis, Clay Beevers, Caitlin Allen, Nikos Arechiga and Dr. Osman Inal.  Photo by Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech


Dr. Peter Gerity, Vice President of Academic Affairs, presented the awards and introduced the students during the banquet. Each student was nominated by his or her advisor. The four winners are among the elite few who will graduate from Tech in four years. They also all have lofty GPAs and they have resumés filled with volunteer work, leadership experience, publications, scholarships and other academic accolades.

Allen is a chemical engineering major from Carlsbad. She has been accepted to several graduate schools, including Princeton. Allen previously was named a Macey Scholar, was the first Tech student to be a finalist for the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, has won national awards for her research and has completed five summer internships with Sandia National Laboratory. Allen’s research focus at Tech is with her advisor Dr. Michaelann Tartis, working on targeted drug delivery.

An electrical engineering major, Arechiga was selected for an internship in robotics at M.I.T. in 2009. He was co-author of a publication based on that research; that paper was selected as a finalist for the best paper award at a national robotics conference.
Arechiga’s current research at Tech involves updating and improving the field programmable gate array firmware for the Lightning Mapping Array, a device designed and built by Tech professors.

Beevers is a chemical engineering major from Tucumcari, N.M., where he was valedictorian. He will earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s in four years. Beevers completed an internship with Procter and Gamble in 2008 and a Research Experience for Undergraduates internship in biofuels at the University of Colorado in 2009. For the past two years, he has worked with his advisor Dr. Corey LeClerc on producing biodiesel from algae.

Blakney is a petroleum engineering major from Rio Rancho. He has done two internships with Conoco Phillips – one in Farmington and one in Alaska. He has accepted a job offer from the company. He was nominated by his advisor Dr. Tom Engler. Blakney is also the president of the Student Association at Tech.

Congratulations to all the winners.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech