Two Tech Students Earn Industry Scholarships

SOCORRO, N.M. June 14, 2010 – Two New Mexico Tech chemical engineering students won competitive scholarships from a Texas natural gas organization.

Rising junior Randall Arnold and rising senior Stephanie Gonzalez each earned $3,000 awards from the Permian Basin chapter of the Gas Processors Association.

Stephanie Gonzalez


Randall Arnold


The scholarships are intended to reward exceptional engineering students from southeastern New Mexico and west Texas who have shown an interest in a career in the natural gas industry. Arnold is from Carlsbad; Gonzalez is from Roswell.

“I was so excited to find out I got it,” Gonzalez said. “I didn’t think I’d win it. The scholarship will totally help out a lot.”

Gonzalez said she was also surprised to find out the size of the award.

“Pure joy! I was absolutely elated that I got this scholarship,” Arnold said. “That’s a lot of money. I was surprised it was $3,000.”

Dr. Mike Riley, professor of chemical engineering, encouraged the two to apply for the scholarship.

“New Mexico Tech has had a good relationship with the Gas Processors Association for quite a while,” Riley said. “It’s been incredibly beneficial for our students. They’ve been very supportive and helpful.”

Both students have impressive resumés with volunteerism and civic involvement.

Gonzalez is a Student Association senator, Residence Hall Association officer, vice president of the Tech chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering and an active member of both InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. She has volunteered for Science Olympiad, Puerto Seguro homeless shelter and the Socorro animal shelter. She is also working at Tech this summer as a conference coordinator.

“Natural gas processing is the backbone of New Mexico’s energy sources,” Gonzalez wrote in her scholarship application form. “Natural gas helps improve the lives of New Mexicans and I would enjoy a career in natural gas because I think it’s an essential part of the economy.”

Arnold is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Chemistry Club. He also volunteers in his hometown of Carlsbad, including at the local library, and at Puerto Seguro homeless shelter in Socorro. He is a residential assistant at Tech and, overall, he enjoys life at Tech.

“I am a devoted student and I proudly support New Mexico Tech,” he said. “And I love assisting other students in their classes.”

Arnold said a chemical engineering degree from Tech will present him with many career options, including the natural gas industry.

“Natural gas is a big part of Carlsbad’s economy,” Arnold said. “I have family here – a lot of family – so it will be good to stick around Carlsbad and have some job security.”

In addition to the scholarships, the Tech student winners also received a set of engineering data books, including a digital version, which are an essential source of data for the gas processing industry. Gonzalez said the books are two 3-inch binders with a wealth of information.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech