Posted: 1/19/11

TAMIU Engineering Futures Closer with New Gift



The New Year brings  a special gift for current and future Texas A&M International University students seeking an engineering education.

Gary Leyendecker, P.E.,  president of Leyendecker Construction, has provided a gift of $40,000 in support of a summer engineering program for TAMIU students. The  presentation was made by his father, Richard, and his brother, Paul. Leyendecker, and his brother are both Texas A&M engineering graduates.  Their father studied engineering at A&M after his return from World War II.

Dr. Ray Keck, TAMIU president, said the gift affords students a rare opportunity to participate in the University’s pre-engineering summer program at Texas A&M University in College Station.

“This is a truly generous investment in the future of our students and our region. The need for qualified engineers is constant and the University is keenly interested in addressing this need by providing experiences that can help students prepare themselves for completing their degree through our collaborations with Texas A&M University’s Dwight Look College of Engineering,” Dr. Keck said.

Leyendecker said his gift is an investment in Laredo. His brother, Paul, also a professional engineer and officer for Leyendecker Construction, concurred.

“I wanted to make a difference in the lives of TAMIU students who want to become engineers.  I hope that the University will eventually have its own full engineering program, but I believe that assisting students now will bring real returns to Laredo in the future,” Leyendecker said.
Linda Bañuelos, TAMIU student majoring in Systems Engineering, said she found the summer workshop eye-opening.

“It helped me better understand what Civil Engineering is all about. Building the robot and making a game was the best part. The projects were hands on and everything was left to the students to explore and use their imagination. The professors taught us how to use the equipment and after that it was all in our hands. If I could do this workshop again I would, it was such a great experience,” she said.

A 2008 Nixon High School graduate, Bañuelos plans to pursue a masters in Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University. She said some summer program students actually changed their minds about their planned study after the summer experience.

“This workshop helps you to understand the many fields of Engineering. Some students even changed their mind about what field they wanted to pursue because some of the other ones sounded more interesting or better suited their needs,” she noted.

The program, directed by Dr. Ray Bachnak, professor and chair of the University’s department of Engineering, Mathematics and Physics, provides a summer experience and helps the University to establish a student cohort that will eventually transfer to College Station.

For additional information about engineering at TAMIU, please contact Dr. Bachnak at 956. 326.2408. Online information is available at www.tamiu.edu/coas/depts/dmps/

Information is also available from the University’s Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services, 956.326.2180, by e-mail at prmis@tamiu.edu or by visiting offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu