Mining Prof Selected For Fulbright Specialist Exchange

SOCORRO, N.M. April 22, 2015 – Mineral engineering professor Dr. Navid Mojtabai has been selected for the prestigious Fulbright Specialist Program, which will see him spend three weeks at a university in Peru.

Mojtabai said the review and selection process was long and involved. His nomination was reviewed and approved by the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Department of State and the Council for International Exchange Scholars.


Dr. Navid Mojtabai


He just recently learned that he was selected and that the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (Catholic University of Peru) in Lima has requested his assistance. He hopes to conduct a similar project with the National University of Colombia as well in the near future.  New Mexico Tech has an exchange student agreement with both universities.

“Mining is huge in Peru,” he said. “It’s a relatively young industry, but they are doing a lot of huge investments. Companies like Rio Tinto and Freeport McMoRan all have operations there. Several of our alumni have worked in mining in Peru over the years.”

Mojtabai has visited both the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru and the Colombian National University in the past.

“I’ve been to this university [in Peru] several times,” he said. “I’m close to them. It’s a top private school and a top engineering school in Peru.”

He will help the university improve its mining curricula, specifically in the areas of applied geomechanics (tunneling, underground excavation, rock slope stability) and rock blasting.  He will deliver lectures in the mining engineering program to students at the university. He will also conduct seminars and workshops with professors in the mining engineering program and at the National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy and the Institute of Engineers of Peru. 

“It will be challenging and I am very excited,” Mojtabai said. “We will be working on expanding our relationships and start exchanging students. We will be working on joint degree programs and possible research collaborations.”

New Mexico Tech has an exchange agreement with the university, which is ABET accredited. Mojtabai said he hopes that his visit to Lima will encourage Peruvian students to come to Tech and for Techies to spend an exchange semester in Peru.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech