SMU Lyle student aims to build stronger collaborations between industry and academic research

Alex Avendano Bolivar’s student research focuses on two-dimensional (2D) materials and their applications in the future of electronics.

The SMU Lyle Ph.D. student in Electrical and Computer Engineering also received a fellowship from Mexico’s National Council on Science and Technology to investigate quantum properties of 2D materials. His desire to see new technology solutions culminated in his master’s thesis, funded by the U.S. Navy, to investigate new means of controlling acoustic energy with 2D materials.

“My dream job would stay involved in research and technology, either in industry, academia or in the creation of my own venture,” says Alex. “I want to help build a bridge for collaboration between industry and research institutions to reach a common goal.”   

Alex has cultivated big dreams of becoming an engineer since growing up in Mexico. He comes from a family of engineers – his mother and brother both have Ph.D.s in engineering. He credits his mother for inspiring him to pursue his graduate education at SMU Lyle.

“I just fell in love with math, science, the chemistry basics,” he says. “She was an inspiration for my brother, my sister and myself, to pursue our dreams and show us that anything is possible.”

Alex took the first step toward his dream when he enrolled in the Instituto Tecnológico de Saltillo, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics Engineering. His journey to the Lyle School began there in Saltillo, where he interned at Aptiv, a global leader in mobility technology that strives to make vehicles safer, greener, and more connected.
His internship at Aptiv landed him at the forefront of manufacturing technology, where he learned to set up and automate an assembly line of four workstations using just robotic assistance. This hands-on experience and his growing passion for discovering new technologies to streamline the world around him brought him to Lyle in 2020, where he enrolled as a graduate student.

Learn more about SMU Lyle's graduate programs.

Alex, who is on track to complete a Ph. D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering by 2026, serves in leadership roles across the school and university. He is a graduate representative for various academic committees and served on the Dean Search Committee that helped select the school’s new dean, Nader Jalili. He has served as the president of the Graduate Student Council at SMU and represents the Lyle School on the Graduate Student Advisory Board that advises the dean of the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. He is also the recipient of a Lyle fellowship for entrepreneurship.

Outside of the classroom, Alex is known as a skilled archer and pop culture enthusiast.

SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and more than 12,000 students in eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, communities and the world.

SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, founded in 1925, is one of the oldest engineering schools in the Southwest. The school offers twelve undergraduate and 29 graduate programs, including master’s and doctoral degrees, in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Engineering Management, Mechanical Engineering and Operations Research and Engineering Management. As a Lyle student, you have 24/7 access to the unique Deason Innovation Gym, which provides the tools and space to work on immersion design projects and competitions to accelerate learning, innovation and leadership. In addition, we have multiple student-led clubs, including Mustang Rocketry, Hilltop Motorsports, Society for Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers, and more. What sets Lyle apart is our intention to build engineers who are not only technical experts, but excellent communicators and leaders. Part of the way we do that is to offer participation in centers and institutes to help students pursue personal passions. Lyle’s centers and institutes include the Hart Center for Engineering Leadership, which helps cultivate engineering leaders by providing leadership training, mentorship, community outreach opportunities, networking, professional development, and career services; Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity, which is dedicated to developing and scaling sustainable and affordable technologies and solutions to address challenges facing under-resourced communities; Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security, which conducts real-world research to achieve fundamental breakthroughs in cybersecurity; and Caruth Institute for Engineering Education, which strives to increase the number and diversity of students interested in pursuing engineering to meet the ever-increasing demand for a well-educated high-tech workforce.