Two Techies Get Organizational Scholarships

SOCORRO, N.M. October 24, 2011– Two New Mexico Tech undergraduates studying mechanical engineering recently won scholarships from the International Test and Evaluation Association.

Chris White and Willie Desir are the 2011 winners of the scholarships from the International Test and Evaluation Association. From left are Dr. Andrei Zagrai, White, Dr. John Meason of EMRTC, Desir and Dr. Keith Miller.

Dr. John Meason, director of EMRTC and the custodian of ITEA scholarship funds at New Mexico Tech, officially presented the awards to Chris White and Weelairmeen “Willie” Desir at a recent ceremony.

Each scholarship is $2,000 for the 2011-12 school year. The award also covers travel expenses and registration to attend the International Test and Evaluation Association Modeling and Simulation Workshop in El Paso, Texas, on January 12, 2012.

The funds for the annual scholarships are donated by the White Sands chapter of the international organization. Meason said one of the common threads among EMRTC, Playas Training and Research Center and other divisions at Tech is training and evaluation, making a logical connection between the university and the professional group.

The International Test and Evaluation Association, or ITEA, is a non-profit education organization, dedicated to the study of technical, programmatic, and acquisition information among the test and evaluation community. ITEA members work with industry, government, and academic organizations that develop policies and techniques used to assess weapon and non-weapon systems and products.

Mechanical Engineering Department chair Dr. Warren Ostergren said White and Desir are among the best students in the department and very deserving of the award and the recognition.

White was a key member of the Junior-Senior Design Clinic team that sent an experiment into space last May. Now a senior, he is one of the key team members this year as the team works to attract NASA funding and enhance its experiment for another launch.

Ostergren said White has set himself apart in research by working with Dr. Andrei Zagrai in his lab.

“He’s a rock, in terms of his performance,” Ostergren said. “You can always count on him in scholarly work and support activities.”

Desir is a transfer student who has quickly made an impression on her research and academic advisors. Dr. Keith Miller nominated her for the award based on the energy she brings to her design team and as a recognition of her potential as a new Tech student.

A native of New York City, Desir earned an associate’s degree at Prince George’s College in borough of Queens. She sought the counsel of a professor at Prince George’s, who suggested that New Mexico Tech would fit her goal of attending a quality university to study engineering.

“I am impressed with this young lady,” associate professor Dr. Keith Miller said. “She came here on a wing and a prayer. She has a lot of gumption to come out West on her own and start in at Tech.”

Ostergren said Desir is a dynamic and outgoing student who is a benefit to the Mechanical Engineering Department.

“We are grateful to ITEA for their support of our academic program and mission,” Ostergren said. “We have many worthy young scholars who are worthy of scholarships and these two students certainly are among the best Tech has to offer.”

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech