Juan José Gómez Chávez
PhD in Mechanical Engineering
The University of Texas at El Paso
Dr. Ramana Chintalapalle
How did you first learn about the ConTex fellowship program?
After my first year of PhD, I attended a ConTex seminar at UTEP and they referred us to the website. That is how I found out.
Tell us about your research and the reasons it is important to you
My project focused on the development of anti-corrosive materials designed to withstand high temperatures (above 1250 ˚C). These materials are essential for the development of gas turbines used in aviation and for power generation. This project was very important to me, mainly because it had a concrete industrial application and the potential to increase the useful life and efficiency of turbo machinery.
What have been the biggest challenges and the greatest satisfactions of studying at UTEP and living in the United States?
Certainly, the language represented the greatest challenge, because it takes time to get used to learning new things in a language that is not your native language. The greatest satisfaction for me was to be exposed to issues of high technological and social impact, as well as to work and learn from the best trained scientists and engineers in the world in this specific area.
Tell us about how your other experiences abroad helped you during this stage of your academic journey in Texas.
Thanks to my research project, I had the opportunity to work a year in Germany as a PhD student. During my stay in Germany, I realized that the state of Texas does not have a specialized team working on my specific topic. This opened many doors to our research team here in Texas and across the United States. It helped us expand our scientific collaborations with other universities and research centers.
In what ways do you expect your research to contribute to improving the relationship between the United States and Mexico and the well-being of people in both countries?
Mexico is a country with an emerging aerospace industry that requires cutting-edge research to stay competitive. I believe my research is relevant in both countries and may foster other scientific partnerships. Currently, UTEP is collaborating with the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV) to explore new areas of research in the fields of energy, aerospace, and basic sciences, among others.
What advice would you give to other Mexican students who are considering studying in Texas?
The state of Texas has a lot to offer in the areas of education and culture. There are many opportunities for higher education in Texas. I would recommend that all students apply to the scholarships that ConTex offers.