Inspiring the Next Generation of STEM Leaders

rudy trevino

Alumnus Rudy Treviño’s (B.S. ME 1977) history of community service goes all the way back to when he was a mechanical engineering student at The University of Texas at Austin. Here he learned firsthand that even the simplest act could make a difference in someone’s future, especially when it comes to his or her education.

Ever since, he’s been a passionate volunteer in the STEM community, helping to teach children and teenagers about engineering and inspire them to achieve their goals. It’s a passion he has followed throughout his career — and one that was recognized when he received the 2015 Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers’ (SHPE) national Professional Role Model Award.

SHPE called him a “fixture of diversity and inclusion initiatives” within both the larger STEM community and Raytheon Company, where he has worked for over three decades as a mechanical engineer.

At Raytheon, in addition to designing and supporting products that equip and protect servicemen and servicewomen, Treviño has served as a member or leader within each of the company’s employee resource groups, participating in STEM outreach activities that inspire and mentor students of all ages and backgrounds.

He said one of his fondest memories is volunteering at a STEM fair and watching the kids persist in finalizing a project or solving a problem before moving on to the next one. “They were so excited about finishing it and learning in the process, it was awesome to see,” he said.

Treviño grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas, and always had an interest in science and math. He was inspired to pursue a college degree while watching his mother study hard for her nurse’s aid certificate.

While at UT Austin, he found the college culture and coursework challenging. But two introductions came at just the right time to help him succeed. First, he met fellow mechanical engineering student Justa Alejandro, who would study with him and offer support — and who would become his wife upon graduation. Second, he joined the Pi Sigma Pi minority student organization, which was then only a year old.

As a member of Pi Sigma Pi, Treviño not only participated in and realized the significance of giving back, he also felt like he was being helped himself. He was connected to other students like him, who came from similar backgrounds and cultures. The experience inspired Treviño and Justa to support the Cockrell School and Pi Sigma Pi by making gifts, volunteering at events and mentoring students.

“We knew we wanted to give back to the same organization that helped me succeed in both my education and career,” Treviño said. He still attends Pi Sigma Pi banquets and is considered one of the group’s founding members on campus.

Treviño and Justa are strong supporters of Texas Engineering and the Friends of Alec Annual Giving Program. In 2015, they established an Endowed Scholarship in Engineering to help underrepresented students succeed in their academic goals.

“We are happy to support the diversity programs at the Cockrell School,” Treviño said. “Diversity in engineering is very important to our society. Even though we’re all speaking the same ‘language,’ we need people from different cultures and backgrounds to bring new ideas and spur different ideas from others.”

Treviño and Justa live in Prosper, Texas. The couple has three children, Rudy Jr., Kasandra and Patricia, and six grandchildren. After an accomplished 38-year career working at Texas Instruments and Raytheon with many technical awards and honors, Treviño retired at the end of 2015.