DECEMBER 14, 2021 — For Joel Alejandro (Alex) Mejia, the mission of the Prefreshman Engineering Program (PREP) is personal. Coming from a low-income background, Mejia experienced firsthand the barriers that Latino students still face today when it comes to accessing an education in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs.
“I believe that anyone who wants to become an engineer can do so—it’s just an issue of equity and representation,” Mejia said. “Engineering is not necessarily a very diverse field. We need more diverse perspectives in engineering, and we need to create spaces where students see themselves reflected in the curriculum.”
Mejia joined UTSA in August as an associate professor of engineering education under a joint initiative between the UTSA College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) and the UTSA Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design. He was appointed the new director for PREP shortly after.