News: Irigoyen named 'Communicator of the Year' for STEM Program efforts
Story by Sandra Arnold
GALVESTON, Texas - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District’s Eduardo Irigoyen, construction manager in the USACE Galveston District, was recognized as the USACE Ronald J. Ruffennach Communicator of the Year. The award recognizes a member of the USACE outside of the public affairs career field for his/her outstanding contributions in communicating the USACE missions and programs.
Irigoyen received the award for his continued support in executing the district’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Awareness Program, which seeks to build relationships between 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'm honored and thankful to receive this recognition,” said Irigoyen. “I enjoy communicating our story to future engineers and helping students become passionate about the field I love."
The innovative program included partnering with nationally-recognized STEM organizations and higher education institutions to encourage students to pursue careers in STEM-related fields.
“His extensive knowledge of the Corps’ STEM Awareness Program coupled with the partnerships he has cultivated throughout his seven-year career enabled him to effectively serve as a trusted subject matter expert and key USACE spokesperson to communicate vital information about the district’s program,” said Col. Christopher Sallese, USACE Galveston District commander.
Irigoyen dedicated more than 200 hours throughout the year to help close the performance gap in underrepresented students’ STEM educational achievement, encourage students to secure technical jobs of the future and keep our nation on the edge of innovation.
“Eddie has worked aggressively to implement a two-part Great Minds in STEM program for parents and students at The Rice School, a Spanish and technology magnet school in the Houston Independent School District,” said Pete Perez, deputy district engineer for programs and project management. “As a result of the success of this program, the district will expand to additional schools to provide resources for recognition and recruitment of Hispanics in STEM and connect multi-areas of engineering and science arenas to the public.”
Additional elements of the program included a bilingual (English and Spanish) parent orientation as well as a STEM Awareness Student Day that featured team challenges, direct interaction with college engineering and science students and Corps employees. Consisting of a student teams approach, Irigoyen worked with students to analyze and find solutions to engineering and environmental sciences issues and projects.
“These achievements arguably would not have been accomplished without Eddie’s dedication and hands-on approach,” said Sallese. “He effectively told the Army’s story and was essential in helping the district meet its stated objectives to mentor youth and attract females and minorities to work in STEM-related fields, who may one day join the district and become part of a workforce that boasts a 52 percent population of women and minorities employed in STEM-related positions.”
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. He assumed the duties of the district’s Great Minds in STEM liaison on a volunteer basis in 2010.
In recognition of his efforts, Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, USACE commanding general, will present the Ronald J. Ruffennach Communicator of the Year Award at the annual USACE Senior Leadership Conference this summer. He has also been selected to be featured in an upcoming USA Today special edition entitled "Building America: Profiles in STEM" that is scheduled to be published June 3, 2013.
Learn more about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District’s STEM Program at
http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/BusinessWithUs/PublicAffairsOffice/CorpsintheClassroom.aspx or at the Great Minds in STEM website at http://www.greatmindsinstem.org/. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.