UTRGV hosts Engineers Week 2024 to boost a diverse and vigorous engineering workforce

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EDINBURG, TEXAS – In the lead up to Engineers Week 2024, UTRGV College of Engineering and Computer Science learned it had secured a second Ph.D. program.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the new Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science with Interdisciplinary Applications.

Dr. Ala Qubbaj, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science said the new program is designed to prepare graduates to become faculty at research-intensive universities or to establish research careers in industry.

He said the program also will offer rigorous, fundamental training in computer science and the application of computational methods to other disciplines, including science, business, medicine, healthcare and engineering.

“This is a landmark achievement for our college, university and RGV community,” Qubbaj said. “The new Ph.D. program builds upon our track record of success in educating Hispanics at the undergraduate and master’s levels, and now expanding to the Ph.D. level. Our students deserve this opportunity, they are the future of Texas and our nation.”

 The college’s first Ph.D. program – a doctoral curriculum in Materials Science and Engineering – was approved in July 2023. It launched in the Fall with 18 doctoral students.

UT-Rio Grande Valley President Guy Bailey said the university is thrilled to receive approval of another doctorate program.

“This milestone showcases UTRGV’s unwavering dedication to expanding academic opportunities for our students, especially at the doctoral level,” Bailey said. 

“The addition of this program will provide our students with cutting-edge opportunities and produce leaders and innovators in the field of computer science. We look forward to welcoming students to this exciting new program and witnessing their contributions to the Rio Grande Valley and beyond.”

Dr. Qubbaj said to learn more about the UTRGV College of Engineering and Computer Science and its degree program offerings, visit www.utrgv.edu/cecs/index.htm.

Engineers Week 2024 


Dr. Karen Lozano

Dr. Karen Lozano is a UTRGV endowed professor, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Academy of Inventors. On social media, Lozano promoted Engineers Week 2024 and NAE. Founded in 1964, NAE celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. During Engineers Week, and throughout the year, NAE said it will showcase the engineering – and engineers – that have shaped the world. 

NAE said this about Engineers Week:

“Engineers think big – at scale. They create awe-inspiring innovations. They push innovation and make revolutionary changes. They find solutions to today’s challenges, visualize a future of possibilities, and create the technologies and products that shape our lives. From life-saving vaccines to space travel to our global connectedness through the World Wide Web, engineering touches every facet of our lives… and engineers make it possible.

“Engineers Week is both a celebration of engineers and an opportunity to increase the understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers. With that in mind, Engineers Week seeks to:

  • raise public awareness of engineers’ positive contributions to our quality of life;
  • promote recognition among parents, teachers, and students of the importance of a technical education and a high level of math, science, and technology literacy; and
  • motivate youth to pursue engineering careers in order to provide a diverse and vigorous engineering workforce.

“Since its founding in 1951, Engineers Week has grown into a formal coalition of more than 70 engineering, education and cultural societies, and more than 50 corporations and government agencies — all of whom are dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce.”

National Academy of Engineering flyer

Editor’s Note: Click here for more information about NAE. 

UTRGV celebrates Engineers Week 2024


Dr. Ala Qubbaj, dean of UTRGV’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. (Photo: RGG/Steve Taylor)

Hosted by UTRGV College of Engineering & Computer Science, Engineers Week 2024 started Feb. 16 and runs thru Feb. 23.

The goal is to get students in the community from Kindergarten through 12th grade immersed in the world of engineering. This year’s theme is “Welcome to the Future.”

Dr. Qubbaj said the theme is meant to celebrate modern achievements and help pave the way for a brighter, more diverse future in engineering.

The goal, he said, is to reach students and help them realize that engineers of each generation can make the world a better place and help shape the world of tomorrow.

“E-Week fosters a sense of community among students, educators, and industry professionals, creating networking opportunities and support systems that can be invaluable for students as they navigate their academic and professional journeys,” Qabbaj said.

“It promotes inclusion within the engineering field, encouraging students from underrepresented groups to participate and showcasing a wide range of perspectives and talents within the engineering community.”

The program is aligned with the Equity in Engineering Summit, which is supported by an National Science Foundation grant, to help increase enrollment, retention, and success of Hispanics (particularly Latinas) in engineering.

Overall, E-Week serves as a catalyst for inspiration, education and collaboration, Qubbaj said.

“It empowers students to explore their passion for engineering and envision themselves as future innovators and problem-solvers,” he said.

E-Week Schedule


  • Monday, Feb. 19: Innovation Day

– Final Shark Tank Presentation: 12:15 p.m. – Makerspace (EENGR 2.454)

– Poster Competition Round 1: All day – EENG Lobby, 2nd floor & Brownsville Lobby

  • Tuesday, Feb. 20: Student Engagement & Recognition Day

– Girls Camp (K-12): 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – EUCTR Ballroom

– Girls Day Welcome: 9 to 9:15 a.m. – EUCTR Ballroom

– Girls Day Engineering Activity: 9:15 to 11:30 a.m. – Makerspace

– E-Week 2024 Resolution: 10 to 11 a.m. – Hidalgo Courthouse

– Girls Day Lunch & Women’s Panel (Open to all): 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. – EUCTR Ballroom

– Girls Day Engineering Tour: 1 to 1:30 p.m. – EENG Lobby

– Girls Day Wrap Up: 1:30 to 2 p.m. – TMAC

  • Wednesday, Feb. 21: Student Engagement & Recognition Day

– Civil Engineering Ribbon Cutting: 11 to 11:45 a.m. – EACSB Eastside Lobby

– Civil Engineering Forum Lunch and Learn meeting: Noon to 1 p.m. – EUCTR Ballroom

– CECS Student Organization Fair: 1 to 3 p.m. – EENG Lobby 1st Floor

– Student Recognition Banquet: 5 to 7 p.m. – EUCTR Ballroom

  • Thursday, Feb. 22: Career Development Day

– Mock interviews with industry professionals: 10:30 a.m. to noon – EENG 2.212

– Industry Keynote Speaker: Noon to 1 p.m. – EENG Auditorium

– Los Alamos session by Michael Lackner: 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. – EENG 2.212

– Los Alamos session by Bill McKerley: 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. – EENG 2.212

– Industry Tabling & Networking Event: 1 to 4 p.m. – EENG Lobby 1st floor

– Poster Competition Round 2 finalists: 6 to 8 p.m. – EUCTR Ballroom

– Summit Kick Off / Opening Dinner: 6 to 8 p.m. – EUCTR Ballroom

  • Friday, Feb. 23: Summit Day

– Registration, Networking & Breakfast: 8 to 9 a.m. – EUCTR Ballroom

– Welcome & Keynote: Messages Matter: 9 to 10 a.m. – EUCTR Ballroom

– Industry & National Labs Panel: 10 to 11:15 a.m. – EUCTR Ballroom

– Recognitions & Lunch Keynote: SWE CEO & Executive Director Karen Horting: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – EUCTR Ballroom

– Closing Remarks: 1:30 to 2 p.m. – EUCTR Ballroom

Editor’s Note: For more information on this year’s E-Week at UTRGV, go to: https://www.utrgv.edu/cecs/

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