Tech Senior Selected For Coal Industry Scholarship

SOCORRO, N.M. July 7, 2010 – New Mexico Tech senior Joaquin Roibal earned a top scholarship from the Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute in late June.

Joaquin Roibal

A senior in mineral engineering, Roibal said he was excited and overjoyed to received the $2,500 scholarship.

“I felt like getting this scholarship is confirmation that I’m on the right path and Tech is working out for me,” he said. “I work now and that’s how I’m paying for school. Now, I’ll be able to focus on school work and senior design.”

Of course, Roibal will be plenty busy with extracurriculars next year. He is the president of the Student Association and looks forward to the leadership role.

“I feel like Socorro is my home now and I want to give back to the larger community of New Mexico Tech,” he said. “I have some big ideas as SA president and I feel like I have the opportunity to give back to the school where I’ve grown a lot and learned a lot.”

Roibal was one of eight scholarship winners; the Institute issues awards to one student from each state in the Rocky Mountain region. The Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute launched its scholarship program in 1984. Over the history of the program, the New Mexico winners have consistently been from New Mexico Tech.

The winners were given an all-expenses-paid trip to the conference at the Zermatt Resort in Midway, Utah. Roibal said the conference gave him the opportunity to meet other top engineering students, professional engineers and industry leaders. The conference was an eye-opener for Roibal. He said he had never considered a career in coal, but is now interested in pursuing that line of engineering work.

Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute
New Mexico Scholarship Winners

  2009: Andrew Monroy
  2008: David Burkhard
  2007: Phillip Simmons
  2006: Thomas Moser
  2005: Paul Giles III
  2004: Dominic Hoy
  2003: Tiffiany Daniels
  2002: Jessica Rollings
  2001: Audrey Hurst

“I had been interested in gold mining, but the presentations were informative and coal is something I’ll be looking into,” he said. “At the convention, I got 14 or 15 business cards and I’ve already gotten emails requesting my resum√©.”

A 2005 graduate of Albuquerque High, Roibal selected New Mexico Tech primarily because of the small class size.

“That was a major factor,” he said. “And it’s difficult and a top school in the Southwest. I wanted a challenge. I came to visit and noticed the campus and how green it was. And a bunch of friends were coming to Tech, so that made it an easy transition.”

Roibal didn’t come to Tech knowing that he wanted to be a mineral engineer. As a freshman “Engineering Undecided” student, he enrolled in Geology 101 and Mineral Engineering 101 during his first semester.

“Dr. Mojtabai, who is also my advisor, asked me what classes I was taking and he put me in mineral,” Roibal said. “I kind of fell into it, but the more I learned, the more I realized that it was for me. I like the small classes and the attention we get from our professors, but the biggest thing is the job opportunities for mineral engineers.”

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech