Biosystems Engineering Major Receives First Future Leaders Scholarship

Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Jesus Mulgado receives first ever Future Leaders Scholarship from the Association of State Floodplain Managers Foundation.

In CALS, students learn to create solutions to keep the world and all its inhabitants healthy and resilient. The Association of State Floodplain Managers Foundation recently recognized one of our Biosystems Engineering students, Jesus Mulgado, for his passion to make a difference through Water Resource Engineering by awarding Jesus the foundation’s first Future Leaders Scholarship. Meet Jesus and learn more about his academic and professional goals below.

Where are you originally from?

I am from Avondale, AZ. It's a small town west of Phoenix.

Please tell us what led you to choose UA and major in Biosystems Engineering.

Out of all the other engineering disciplines, I felt that Biosystems Engineering was the most diverse. My classes ranged from human anatomy to watershed engineering. That to me was very important because as an incoming transfer student I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my engineering career.

Within Biosystems Engineering is there a specific area of interest?

One thing that I found very interesting it that within Biosystem Engineering there are five areas of emphasis: controlled environment agriculture; water resources; biometry & biosystems informatics; and food bioproducts, & renewable energy. Ultimately, I chose the water resource route because it offers the tools I need to get into the water field. As a result, I have taken courses such as erosion control, water resource engineering, and watershed engineering. All of these courses have allowed me to develop skills needed to become a successful future water resource engineer.

Is there a faculty member who was especially important in your undergraduate experience? For example, someone who served as a mentor or a professor whose class you particularly enjoyed?

I would be lying to say that there is just one. As a transfer student, I came to U of A completely alone. For that, I struggled tremendously my first semester here. I soon bounced back because of the support of my department. My support came from my advisor Dava not letting me quit after my first semester to all of my instructors helping me whenever I needed help. I do want to give a shout out to my Instructor Dr. Slack. He took it upon himself to take me under his wing and help me be successful. He directed me to my internship at Pima County's Regional Flood Control where I have worked for about six months. If it weren't for him, I would have never gotten the internship that allowed me to receive this generous scholarship.

What do you plan to do after graduation?

I am enrolling in an accelerated master program in Biosystems Engineering, in which I will be graduating in May of 2020. Once I have completed my school I want to work as a Water Resource Engineer that specializes in flood prevention. More specially I want to work on structures that prevent flooding such as river defenses, diversion canals, and levees.

Please tell us how receiving the Future Leaders Scholarship from the Association of State Floodplain Managers Foundation will help you pursue your goals.

It gave me both the confidence and resources I needed to go for a Masters. As a first-generation college student, I never thought I would be this far. No one in my entire family has graduated from college. As a result, most of my academic journey has been me walking in blind. However, thanks to this scholarship I now know exactly where I am going.

What advice do you have for incoming freshman?

The most crucial advice is get to know your instructors. They are way more than just the people who teach you. Not establishing a close relationship with them can hinder your professional growth. I went into my Flood Control internship without having any past internship experience. I also never used the tools that I was required to use at my internship. On paper, I was not very appealing as a good candidate. However, thanks to the close relationship I built with Dr. Slack, he knew that I was a hard worker and that I was ready for any challenge. Thanks to Dr. Slack's strong recommendation I ended up getting the internship.