Odessey Ramos ’24 named Outstanding Islander Graduate for the College of Engineering and Computer Science

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Achieving excellence both inside and outside the classroom is at the heart of being an Outstanding Islander Graduate. Each semester, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi selects a group of exceptional graduating Islanders — one from each academic college — who have made a lasting Islander Impact. These students are not only high academic achievers but have often overcome major adversity to reach the graduation stage.

This year’s seven Outstanding Islander Graduates will earn their diplomas at the Spring 2024 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18. Their journey to this moment — fueled by determination, perseverance, and grit — highlights their unwavering commitment to finishing what they have started.

Please join us in celebrating Odessey Ramos ’24, who is earning a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in math from the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

The sound of a revving car engine is music to Ramos’ ears. It has been for most of her life. Some of her fondest memories as a child revolve around restoring cars with her father.

“That experience taught me to appreciate the intricacy of engines,” Ramos said.

Working under the hood of a car would eventually ignite a career path for Ramos, one that culminates in a mechanical engineering degree complimented by a minor in math.

Before Ramos could reach this point in her life, she took a divine detour. She met and married the love of her life, a man who shares her mutual love of restoring cars. The couple had two children and Ramos navigated demanding roles in private medical facilities. While she excelled and found fulfillment in her work, Ramos sensed an unyielding drive within her, a force pushing her toward the complex domain of mechanical engineering. Recognizing its potential to fuel her passion, she committed to returning to school.

“As a first-generation college student and mother of two school-aged children, I initially had reservations about integrating into the traditional college environment,” Ramos said. “However, my experience at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has enhanced my confidence and opened many opportunities for me.”

Her husband and kids were a critical support system for her as she pursued her academic passion. Their sacrifice was immense.

“Leaving my job so I had time for school meant our household relied on just one income,” Ramos said. “It added some major financial strain to the family.”

As critical as family support was for Ramos, so was the backing she received from the university. One of the first campus organizations she joined was SSS-STEM TRIO. The program supports underrepresented students as they work toward a bachelor’s degree in STEM and health care-related fields. She found mentorship from TRIO staff members Heather Herrera and Julia Norrell, along with Dr. Renita Newton of the University Counseling Center.

“The SSS-STEM TRIO program provided me with a sense of belonging through connections with diverse peers and dedicated university staffers,” Ramos said. “The support I received bolstered my mental health during challenging academic periods, offering a peaceful space and encouragement to persevere despite overwhelming odds.”

Ramos also benefited from financial support, including The Flint Hills Resources, LP Fund in Mechanical Engineering, among other awards, which significantly reduced her tuition costs.

“My scholarships not only alleviated financial stress but also provided recognition and validation of my hard work and determination,” she said.

One of her significant academic challenges brought her back behind the wheel. Her capstone project required her and her fellow students to convert a traditional fossil fuel vehicle into a hybrid electric model.

“Each step required meticulous engineering decisions, from choosing the right components to fitting them into the existing vehicle architecture without compromising functionality or safety,” she said.

Helping guide students through this project were engineering faculty Dr. Ruby Mehrubeoglu and Mr. Ronald Carlson. Mehrubeoglu quickly became a mentor for Ramos, who credits her supportive nature with helping her navigate the pressures and uncertainties that come with challenging assignments and a career transition while balancing family responsibilities.

“Dr. Mehrubeoglu’s mentorship was pivotal in enhancing my confidence and preparing me for professional opportunities,” Ramos said. “She consistently goes the extra mile to help her students.”

Just as complex as transitioning a vehicle from fossil fuel to electric can be, so too is the endeavor of transitioning careers while balancing a family life. But Ramos’ passion and determination have gotten her across the finish line. Her next goals include securing an engineering position within the diverse industries prevalent in the Coastal Bend and pursuing her master’s degree after gaining at least a year of practical experience.  Steps, she said, she couldn’t have considered a possibility without the guidance she received at the Island University.

“The entire journey at TAMU-CC has been incredibly fulfilling, marked by personal growth and overcoming numerous challenges to pursue my passion in engineering,” Ramos said. “It stands as a testament to my resilience and commitment to making generational changes within my family and community.”