My name is Alexius Castilleja and I graduated from the Science and Engineering Magnet in Dallas, Texas. Home for me is less than half an hour south, nevertheless SMU has proven to be a world all its own. A few semesters have made me wiser, but I’m still learning: I am now a sophomore majoring in Civil Engineering.
Coming to SMU has deepened my desire to pursue engineering and the Lyle professors are the reason why. I admire my professors a great deal. They are respectable experts having more years of experience than I have lived. They are passionate and they are completely willing to help. On top of that, the faculty sincerely cares about your individual success in and outside of the classroom.
I chose the Lyle School of Engineering because, to me, growing as a leader is just as important as learning the principles of engineering. The vast opportunities and resources available to students make leadership development and career preparation possible. Last summer, I interned with the Texas Department of Transportation, an opportunity which presented itself at the annual Lyle Engineering Connections Fair. As the event name suggests, I was able to make connections valuable to my future career even as a freshman.
I have grown so fond of the Lyle School of Engineering that I took the initiative to be more involved. I currently serve as President of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). As a national organization, SHPE was founded to not only create a strong network between Hispanic students and professionals, but to serve as role models in Hispanic communities across the country. At SMU, SHPE is finding a foothold to expand that network of engineers, promote professional growth among its members and enrich diversity within Lyle. Not only do I hope to cultivate my own leadership skills but I hope SHPE continues to develop as a unique organization where Hispanic students can grow academically and socially.
Another significant aspect of my collegiate experience that contributes to my personal growth is my commitment to my sorority, Kappa Delta Chi. My current role as Service Officer of KDX preserves my humility and passion for service by enabling me to give time to my community. I’m also Publicity Chair which allows me the chance to showcase my creativity in visual art and design to reach campus-wide exposure. Aside from my responsibilities, Kappa Delta Chi gives me incomparable sisterhood with young women who uphold like values. This group of women supports and empowers me.
At the Lyle School of Engineering, my learning experience seamlessly extends into and out of the classroom, into the work force, into the community and beyond – and that has made all the difference.