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Engineering Prof Wins Research Publication Award

March 08, 2017

Dr. Joel Alejandro (Alex) Mejia of the Angelo State University civil engineering faculty has been chosen to receive the 2016 William Elgin Wickenden Award by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) for having the best research paper published in the ASEE’s Journal of Engineering Education during the 2016 volume year.

<strong>Dr. Alex Mejia</strong>Dr. Alex MejiaMejia co-authored the article titled “Latina/o Adolescents’ Funds of Knowledge Related to Engineering,” which was published in the April 2016 issue of the Journal of Engineering Education. It addresses ways in which educators can re-conceptualize engineering education by focusing on knowledge that students bring into the classroom and connecting that knowledge to engineering design. Mejia’s co-authors and co-recipients of the Wickenden Award are Dr. Amy Wilson-Lopez of Utah State University, Dr. Sue Kasun of Georgia State University and graduate student Indira Hasbún of Virginia Tech University. 

The award is named for William Elgin Wickenden, an engineer, educator, philosopher and humanitarian who devoted himself to the personal and professional development of young engineers during the early and mid-1900s. Winners are selected annually by a committee of the Journal of Engineering Education’s associate editors and international advisory board members. Mejia and his co-authors will be presented with the Wickenden Award in June during the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition in Columbus, Ohio. 

The Journal of Engineering Education is an international research journal published quarterly by the ASEE in partnership with a global community of engineering education societies and associations. It has over 8,500 subscribers in nearly 80 countries. 

An ASU faculty member since 2015, Mejia has also published articles in several other engineering and education journals and has presented his research at professional conferences. His primary research interest has centered on working with K-12 schools to improve the success of Latino and other under-represented students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. In January, he was one of four co-recipients of a $184,672 grant from the National Science Foundation to establish and host a national conference to promote literacy learning in all levels of engineering education, with a focus on under-represented population groups. 

Mejia also has significant professional engineering experience, working as a materials engineer at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City and as a project engineer for FLSmidth Minerals in Mexico, Peru, Chile, South Africa, Zambia, Denmark, Canada and the U.S. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso, a master’s degree from the University of Utah and a doctorate in engineering education from Utah State University.