College Names Outstanding Engineering Students


Erin D. McKenzie

Students from two University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering departments were among those recognized at a luncheon on campus today honoring area engineering students’ high academic achievement.

Hosted by the Texas Society of Professional Engineers, the event paid tribute to the college’s Outstanding Junior, Joshua Kovitz, and Outstanding Senior, Rodrigo Feliu, as well as the successes of other engineering students from Rice and Praire View A&M universities.

Both Kovitz and Feliu were chosen from a pool of 14 students, selected from each of the seven programs, and named the outstanding junior and senior for the 2008-09 academic year by the Cullen College in January.

For Rodrigo Feliu, selection as the outstanding senior and the luncheon recognizing him, was the perfect end to four years work.

“It feels like a good pay off for all my hard work,” said Feliu “I’m really honored to be chosen for this award.“

A former New Orleans, La. resident, Feliu evacuated to Houston a few days before Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005. Just days after arriving, the reality of the destruction in his city set in and the University of New Orleans sophomore was forced to make a tough decision. He could put his education on hold and try to pick up the pieces later in the Big Easy or rebuild his life in Houston.

“After evacuating to Houston, I learned the University of Houston was admitting displaced students without charging out-of-state fees,” said Feliu, whose institution back home remained closed weeks after the hurricane struck in August. “The city wasn’t even open. The offer was pretty good and just a couple months after the move, I was hired by SBM Atlantia as an intern. Due to the internship and the vast amount of engineering opportunities in the area, I decided to stay in Houston.”

It didn’t take long for Feliu to find his place in Houston. Since relocating he’s earned another internship at Baker Hughes and several merit scholarships. This is in addition to being an active member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Program for Mastery in Engineering Studies, the Society of Petroleum Engineers and both the Tao Beta Pi and Pi Tau Sigma honor societies.

Fall 2008, he graduated summa cum laude with his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. This spring, he began challenging himself with coursework for a graduate degree in mechanical engineering, which he intends to complete within a year.

Like Feliu, Joshua Kovitz has been focused on achieving greatness since arriving on campus.

“Besides an outstanding GPA, Joshua Kovitz is an active officer in the student branch of IEEE,” said Haluk Ogmen, chair of the college’s department of electrical and computer engineering of Kovitz’s position as IT director of the chapter. “He also has been working as a proctor in ECE 1331, computers and problem solving, and in that capacity he has made several suggestions that lead to improvements in this undergraduate course.”

The 21-year-old has made the dean’s list every semester he’s attended UH and in 2007 and 2008, the Honor’s College dean’s list. He’s a member of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society; The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective all-discipline honor society and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). In 2008, he won first place in the regional IEEE Student Branch Web site Contest after redesigning the chapter’s site.

Projected to graduate in spring 2010, Kovitz, like Feliu, was excited about the college-wide honor.

“I really put a lot of effort into school,” said Kovitz. “I just kept on pushing, pushing, pushing and now it’s kind of like I get the award I feel I worked really hard for.”

The following offers a list of all the students selected by each program and considered as the college's outstanding junior and senior:

Program Junior Senior
Biomedical Engineering Greg Bohuslav Meaghan Krebsbach
Chemical Engineering Rachel Clark Yu Pan
Civil Engineering Fernando Alquicira Alain Chamberlain
Computer Engineering Gary Reyes Dustin Drawhorn
Electrical Engineering Joshua Kovitz Jackson Reynolds
Industrial Engineering Rebecca McDonald Teresa Igo
Mechanical Engineering Michelle Holt Rodrigo Feliu




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