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Dayo Olaosebikan ’24 never thought he could become an Aggie. Attending Texas A&M University had been a dream of his ever since he visited campus years earlier, but as a husband and father with two young daughters, he knew affording a four-year education was out of reach. Instead, after leaving his job as a senior project planner, he first pursued an associate degree in engineering technology. Then he heard about the Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy at Houston Community College-Spring Branch. 

Dayo Olaosebika's dream of attending Texas A&M is coming true with the help of the Texas A&M Engineering Academies. “I hope my story encourages someone,” he said. (Photo by Jack Thompson)

Excited by the opportunity to take basic courses at a more affordable community college rate while co-enrolling at Texas A&M, Olaosebikan applied. When his acceptance letter arrived, it announced what he hadn’t thought possible: He was an Aggie. “It felt like doors suddenly opened for me,” he said. “I thought, ‘I’m about to be in a school that produces some of the brightest minds.’”

Olaosebikan enrolled in the Houston academy in fall 2020 and transitioned this fall to College Station, where he is an industrial and systems engineering major and a member of the Corps of Cadets. “I still have to pinch myself sometimes to remember that I’m attending Texas A&M!” he said.

A revolutionary partnership with community colleges, Texas A&M’s Engineering Academies produce stories like Olaosebikan’s across the state and have become a model for similar university programs throughout the nation. Aided by corporate dollars, the academies’ reach has rapidly expanded since their 2015 inception, spreading life-changing opportunities to students and the communities these future engineers will impact worldwide.
 

Blueprint for Success 

A first-in-the-nation co-enrollment engineering transition program, the Engineering Academies allow students to begin their college journey closer to home at a participating community college, where they take science, mathematics and core classes in addition to engineering courses taught by embedded Texas A&M faculty. After their first year or two, students transition to College Station to finish their education in Aggieland.

Student Q&As:

Q: Favorite Aggie tradition:
A: Muster. Watching the videos from this year’s virtual Muster made me want to be part of something bigger than myself and inspired me to build a legacy for my kids.
 
Q: Favorite thing about engineering:
A: The ability to innovate and create. I love turning lemons into lemonade in all aspects of life.
 
Q: Future life goals:
A: My life goals are to promote industrial development and sustainability in my home country of Nigeria.  
Q: Hidden talent:
A: I can play the drums. I was in marching band in high school and traveled across the country with a professional marching band group called Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps in summer 2018.
 
Q: Someone you’d like to trade places with for a day:
A: Jeff Dunham. I’ve always wondered what it’s like to be a ventriloquist!
 
Q: Favorite thing about biomedical engineering:
A: There is vast potential for revolutionizing the way we practice medicine. I plan to pursue a career in biosensors because I believe they will play an important innovative role.
Q: Favorite thing to do in your spare time:
A: Listen to music, leadership podcasts or audiobooks.
 
Q: Favorite quote:
A: ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’ by Nelson Mandela.
 
Q: Future career goals:
A: Obtain a master’s or Ph.D. focusing on engineering policy and sustainability so that I can become the best civil engineer possible and help improve the infrastructure of underdeveloped communities.

The academies began with two critical goals: meet the increasing need for engineers in Texas and make a top-tier engineering education accessible for students from underserved communities. Since the first academy was established at Blinn College-Brenham, the program has expanded across the state, encompassing six academies that have provided an engineering pathway for more than 1,500 students, including more than 500 current enrollees.

Four of these academies—at Houston Community College, Dallas College, Austin Community College and the Alamo Colleges District in San Antonio—were created in partnership with Chevron. “We hope the program positions the next generation of problem-solvers for long-term careers tackling the future’s most complex challenges,” said Steve Green ’80, president of Chevron North America Exploration and Production.

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Concho Resources, which was acquired by ConocoPhillips earlier this year, sponsored the sixth academy location at Midland College. “The academy leverages the programs Midland College already offers to provide access to a Texas A&M engineering curriculum right in the heart of the Permian Basin, where businesses are actively seeking talent,” said Tim Leach ’82, Concho founder and ConocoPhillips executive vice president.

Activating Potential 

Even before they set foot in Aggieland, Engineering Academy participants are treated like any other College of Engineering student. Applicants must meet the same STEM requirements in the competitive enrollment process, and they develop the same close-knit Aggie connections by attending their engineering classes as a cohort.

“I might not have been an Aggie without the academy, so I wanted to commemorate that by providing insights to students who were once in my shoes,” Arthur Farnsworth ’23 said. (Photo by Josh Huskin)

Biomedical engineering major Arthur Farnsworth ’23 experienced personal and professional growth during his time at the Austin Community College academy. Inspired by his experiences, he now mentors newly transitioned students as an academy student ambassador. “I might not have been a Texas A&M student without the academy, so I wanted to commemorate that by providing insights to students who were once in my shoes,” he explained.

By offering an Aggie experience at a savings of up to $50,000, the Engineering Academies also create opportunities for students from underserved communities. More than 30% of participants are first-generation students, and some are non-traditional students with families. Others, like Olaosebikan, fall into both categories. “The academies have changed my plans,” he said. “Paying for a four-year education was going to be almost impossible; it would have been a huge challenge to work and go to school while raising a family.”

With 146 graduates, the program is beginning to produce professionals who can positively impact the field. “The Engineering Academies are a win for our industry,” said Dr. Cindy Lawley, assistant vice chancellor for Academic and Outreach Programs and assistant dean for the Engineering Academies. “Many of our students have unique experiences, and we can produce engineers that better mimic the demographics of Texas.”

Isabel Eburi ’20, a graduate of the academies, founded Entre Estudiantes EG, a program that promotes education and professional development in the STEM field. (Photo by Jack Thompson)

Isabel Eburi ’20, a graduate of the academies and an international student from Equatorial Guinea, now works as a graduate civil engineer in training at Walter P. Moore & Associates in Houston. While at the Houston academy, she studied abroad in Yucatan, Mexico. After transitioning to College Station, she landed several internships and found her current job through the university’s career fairs.

Now, Eburi is fostering the next generation of engineers with her student platform Entre Estudiantes EG. Launched in 2019, the initiative promotes educational and professional development and introduces students from Equatorial Guinea to different career paths, particularly in STEM fields. “Entre Estudiantes is my way of giving back for everything the Engineering Academies and Texas A&M gave me,” she explained.

With additional plans to expand the academies’ enrollment and locations, the program will continue fueling Aggie dreams for students like Farnsworth, Eburi, Olaosebikan and the future generations they are working to inspire. “I hope my story encourages someone, especially somebody my age who has said ‘no’ to themselves before,” Olaosebikan said. “I hope it pushes them toward something they didn’t think possible.”

For more information on supporting the Engineering Academies, contact Kevin McGinnis 82, director of corporate relations, at the bottom of this page.

Contact
  • Kevin McGinnis '82

  • Director of Corporate Relations
  • Office of Corporate Relations

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