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Rodrigo Chavez

Photo of Rodrigo Chavez
Mechanical Engineering
Graduation Year:
Spring 2019
"Most of the time I work with problems that I've never seen and are quite challenging. I feel really proud when I see that students get the problem right using the approaches I taught them."

What has been the most rewarding part about working at the Sanger Center?
I’ve really enjoyed helping students and meeting new people.

What has been the most surprising aspect of your job?
That you expect to see the same problems every semester and that you’ll know everything, but you don’t! Every semester there are new problems and some can be very hard, so the job never becomes routine.

What do you think is the biggest myth about learning/studying in college?
One myth is that everyone graduates in four years. It also common for other students to take longer because they wanted to enjoy a little more the college experience and the wonderful city of Austin. Sometimes the school load might be too much to handle for certain people, so it is best to take your time, enjoy, and do well in the classes you choose.

Tell us about an academic challenge you encountered when you got to UT. How did you handle it? What advice would you give to someone in that same situation?
I transferred from UT El Paso, and it was a big change for me. UT’s engineering program is ranked in the top ten in the country. It is considerably harder here. The first semester at UT was the most challenging for me. I took 15 credits and thought that I could handle it easily as I did in El Paso, but I was wrong. I was overwhelmed with the load and had to start using my time more efficiently. What helped me a lot was meeting other students from my classes so I could study with them and observe how they handled their classes. Eventually, I got used to the load and it became easier for me. The trick is to never quit!