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Engineering major Torres tapped for LOFT Fellowship

Roberto Torres, a Lamar University junior from Beaumont majoring in mechanical engineering, is one of 20 Hispanic students chosen from universities across the nation to participate in ExxonMobil’s LOFT Fellowship. The fellowship assigns a regional mentor to students to guide them as they advance in their engineering education and prepare to enter the workforce.

The LOFT Fellowship, developed by ExxonMobil in collaboration with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation to create a fellowship in STEM fields for Hispanic college students, fosters the goal of nurturing students’ passion for engineering and science. Torres is a part of a select group of students chosen from universities such as MIT, LSU and University of Texas.

To apply, Torres submitted a cover letter, professional recommendations, his resume and an essay that expressed his interest in engineering and his career goals.

“Right after I graduated from high school, I didn’t think I would go to college,” Torres said. “I did construction work and was working in a refinery and I fell in love with the environment. That is when I decided I wanted to pursue an education in engineering.”

Along with a $1000 educational grant, students are paired with a mentor for five one-hour meetings. Fernando Salazar, plant manager with 25 years of experience at ExxonMobil Beaumont, will mentor Torres this year. In meetings, the two discussed topics such as narrowing one’s field of interest in engineering, preparing for an interview and marketing oneself in the engineering profession.

“Right now, I’m just trying to soak up as much information as I can to see what it takes to make it in the industry,” said Torres. “ExxonMobil has a great program. Once you are hired, they develop their workers so they remain competitive in the industry.”