Andres Barron: An Aspiring Engineer’s Journey in the LSAMP Program

May 3, 2024

Andres BarronThe Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) initiative is a program offered at UIW which supports historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students in STEM. This program is limited to a select and highly committed group of scholars with a declared major in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the pre-health professions.

UIW is working with St. Mary’s University, who is administering the program, and in collaboration with Trinity University and Our Lady of the Lake University to help support students during their first two years of college. This period of time is historically critical for retention in STEM programs.

One of the program’s current members is UIW Engineering Management major Andres Barron. Barron’s drive to study engineering management stems from his intense curiosity and fascination with how things work, which leads his passion for building and creating machines that can improve people’s livelihoods and make a real difference in the world.

“I am constantly seeking to expand my knowledge and understanding of software development, structural design and materials science in order to develop cutting-edge solutions that can address pressing societal needs,” said Barron. “As an engineer, I am drawn to the challenge of transforming ideas into reality, and I am committed to working tirelessly to achieve this goal.”

Barron’s long-term goal is to one day become an architectural project manager. He was inspired to pursue this career path after aiding in the remodeling of his grandmother’s house. He was extremely fascinated as he got the opportunity to help fix everything from the roofing to the tiling of the house. Once in this profession, he hopes to provide innovative solutions that meet the needs of clients while ensuring the highest levels of quality and efficiency.

After Barron graduated high school, earning a quality education that would help prepare him to excel in his chosen field was the essential next step in making his dream a reality. Upon looking for scholarships he was eligible for, his father suggested he apply to the LSAMP program.

“I was thrilled to learn about this opportunity and eagerly started working on my application, hoping to secure the scholarship and make my dream of attending the University of the Incarnate Word a reality,” expressed Barron.

Barron was admitted into the program and has completed his freshman year of college. During his first year at UIW, he was able to take advantage of the LSAMP program’s expansive opportunities such as receiving guidance from program mentors, internships that helped him experience real life applications of his chosen field and visits to USAA, the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) and Southwest Research Institute where he learned more about the opportunities that are available in the engineering field, and what it takes to be successful.

Additionally, Barron acknowledges that the connections he’s made within and because of the program have helped to create a valuable community. In addition to networking with fellow students, his involvement in the LSAMP program has introduced him to industry professionals who are already helping him propel his career forward.

“I consider my interactions with other aspiring engineers a valuable aspect of my academic journey,” said Barron. “My experiences within this community have not only provided me with motivation and encouragement but have also helped me to develop a more nuanced understanding of the industry and my place within it.”

Aside from the academic benefits of LSAMP, Barron is grateful that the program has helped to significantly reduce financial pressures for his family, allowing them to focus on other essential expenses. By helping him and his family to overcome financial obstacles, the program has allowed him to truly take his college experience in and focus on the road that lies ahead of him.

As his freshman year comes to an end, Barron reflects on how the LSAMP program has been instrumental in informing him about the realities of college life, developing as a student, providing him the necessary tools to succeed in his academic pursuits and connecting him with influential mentors.

Dr. Veronica Acosta, UIW professor of Biology, and Mrs. Melissa Castillo, UIW mathematics tutoring lab coordinator, have been notably impactful to Barron throughout the start of his college career. “Thanks to their unwavering support, I was able to confidently navigate the challenges of my freshman year. Their dedication to helping students like me is truly inspiring, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have had them as mentors.” To learn more about the LSAMP program, click here.