Eric Imhoff ’22 is among the third generation in his family to pursue an engineering career. Yet his studies at Texas A&M University are steering him in a new direction toward renewable energy and biological engineering—and finding ways to support life on Mars.
The junior’s academic pursuit of these leading-edge subjects is supported by the Martha R. and Eugene P. Neugebauer ’41 President’s Endowed Scholarship (PES). This merit-based scholarship, which is awarded solely on academic achievement and demonstrated student leadership, inspires high-achieving high school seniors to attend Texas A&M.
While Eric’s PES brought him to College Station, he never dreamed it would also take him to Mars.
In a family full of engineers, one of Imhoff’s grandfathers is a civil engineer while the other grandfather, both of Imhoff’s parents and his brother, Benton ’20, are chemical engineers. “They definitely pushed me toward engineering because everyone’s been successful so far,” he noted.
The Woodlands native discovered his own aptitude for STEM areas as a teenager. “In high school, I started to notice that I excelled at math and science, which led to engineering,” he said. “I’ve always found science interesting outside of the classroom. There is so much out there to know, and I feel compelled to learn it. I want to be able to answer any question thrown at me. That’s what science is about: answering your questions and finding new ones to answer.”
Imhoff also credits his burgeoning interest in STEM to his high school math teacher, who worked as a chemical engineer for several decades before becoming an educator. “He was a great teacher, very funny and very charismatic,” Imhoff said. “I think it was generous of him to give back to the younger generation. That rubbed off on me—I realized I could be an engineer for a while and then become a teacher.”
With those influences, Imhoff started researching universities with strong engineering programs and scholarship support. The National Merit Scholar considered several options, including an offer for a full ride to the University of Oklahoma. Ultimately, he was swayed by Benton’s college experience, his own interactions with Texas A&M’s engineering faculty, the college’s rankings, College Station’s close proximity to his home and the opportunity to be part of the Aggie Network.