Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

Ruben Longoria and Alex Iben

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Ruben Longoria and Alex Iben

Engineering Our Future

Alex Iben and Ruben Longoria fulfilled a dream of a lifetime not only for themselves, but for an entire community when they crossed the stage to receive their mechanical engineering degrees on May 12.

As the first two graduates of the University’s mechanical engineering program, they represent a shining example of how the College of Science and Engineering is boosting the Coastal Bend economy.

Both are the first of many highly-qualified University mechanical engineering graduates to meet the employment needs of existing businesses, while helping attract new businesses to the area. With more than 160 students enrolled, the program is thriving.

Iben, who has always had a knack for solving math problems, grew up near Houston in the town of Needville, Texas. He is a third-generation engineer who was inspired by his late mother, Jean Iben, to follow in his father's and grandfather's footsteps.

“I became interested in engineering because I was curious to know how things worked,” said Iben. “This degree is a big accomplishment. It just proves that if we set our minds to something, we can accomplish whatever needs to be done.”

Growing up in nearby Refugio, Texas, Longoria was also good in math. When he entered the University as a freshman, he was undecided on his major. But it wasn’t long before he made the right decision. While earning his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, his favorite classes involved the areas of fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and thermodynamics.

“These classes made me think more about how each of these subjects affect everyday life, from our vehicles to our air conditioning,” Longoria said. “I like knowing the theories behind how things work. I like building things.”

Longoria is working as a control systems engineer for Emerson Process Management under the Gulf Coast Engineering Center division in Corpus Christi, where he is using his learned knowledge of fluid mechanics, temperature, and control loops.

Both Longoria and Iben are grateful for the support they received from the family and the University.  

 “I’d like to thank the faculty for helping me achieve my mechanical engineering degree and for all the advice they have given me,” Longoria said.


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