Meet U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District Civil Engineer Eddie Irigoyen, a construction manager in the Construction Branch and the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Awareness Program liaison for the district.
As a construction manager for the district’s projects in the Southern Area Office, an area encompassing the south Texas coast from the Rio Grande to Matagorda Bay, Irigoyen is responsible for resolving issues that arise during the design and construction phases and is currently overseeing the Corpus Christi La Quinta and Matagorda Ship Channel - Matagorda Peninsula to Point Comfort projects.
“I enjoy seeing the transition of a project from its beginnings as a plan on paper to the completion as a finished project,” said Irigoyen. “My most memorable job was the beach renouishment project in Brownsville. I’m from Brownsville and it was nice to be part of a mission that restored segments of the beaches in my hometown.”
In his role as a STEM liaison, he seeks to build relationships between the USACE Galveston District employees and underrepresented middle and high school students to encourage an interest in STEM courses and the pursuit of engineering and science career fields.
“I was always good with math and curious about discovering how things worked,” Irigoyen said.
The district’s STEM initiatives provide students with the opportunity to interact one-on-one with USACE Galveston District employees in a variety of STEM fields to ask questions about their professions, receive encouragement to pursue STEM-related careers and have the chance to meet women and minority professionals working in STEM occupations.
“I would have loved to have been part of the STEM Awareness Program growing up because there is so much information out there that nobody told me about regarding possible careers,” said Irigoyen. “Through this program, I get to inform kids, parents and teachers of all the possibilities that are out there by choosing a STEM field and I also get to mentor future engineers and teach them how to succeed in college.”
Irigoyen engages with students throughout the year to answer questions about engineering and encourage minority students to seek STEM-related careers.
“I love it when I'm talking to students and their parents and I let them know that I have the same background that they have – a first generation Mexican-American from immigrant parents – and that I was able to accomplish my goals,” said Irigoyen. “I always get asked: How did you decide to be an engineer? What do you like most about your job? And of course, the most popular question is always how much money do you make?”
Irigoyen believes the reason why Hispanic and African Americans are underrepresented in STEM is because of the lack of knowledge that young students might have about opportunities in these professions.
“I know the talent is out there, we just need to foster and motivate the students in increasing their interest in STEM,” Irigoyen said.
A graduate of the University of Texas at Brownsville, he earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2004 and has been employed at the district since 2006. Irigoyen enjoys spending time with his wife and three children and playing softball, golfing and running.
Learn more about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District’s Corps in the Classroom Program at http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/BusinessWithUs/PublicAffairsOffice/CorpsintheClassroom.aspx. Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.