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Junior engineering student named first UT Arlington Goldwater Scholar

Thursday, March 29, 2012

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Media Contact: Herb Booth, Office: 817-272-7075, Cell: 214-546-1082,

Erica Castillo, a junior in the College of Engineering, has been named The University of Texas at Arlington’s first Goldwater Scholar.

 Castillo participated in summer research at Cornell University in 2011.

Castillo is a first-generation college student from The Academy of Irving ISD is enrolled in the Honors College. She is earning a double major in aerospace engineering and physics, with a minor in mechanical engineering.

Castillo said she plans to research biomechanics as part of being named a Goldwater Scholar.

“That’s always interested me,” Castillo said. “The body is a complex system and I enjoy the biomechanics perspective of it because it combines many of my passions.”

Castillo is involved in research focused on structural health monitoring under the direction of Haiying Huang, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Castillo plans to expand her research to include soft biomaterials.

Castillo said her Goldwater honor should be shared with the UT Arlington professors who have inspired her – among them physics lecturer Barry Spurlock, aerospace engineering Professor Wen Chan and Mahera Philobos, assistant engineering dean for retention and diversity initiatives.

Castillo, a junior engineering major, is UT Arlington's first Goldwater Scholar.

“If it wasn’t for Dr. Philobos’ urging, I’m not sure I would have applied,” Castillo said.

Elijah Stevens, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, was awarded an honorable mention in the Goldwater Scholars program.

Stevens is an Iraq war veteran. His research is in high temperature thermal protection systems under the direction of Dragos-Stefan Dancila, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

Congress established the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program in 1986 in honor of the former U.S. senator from Arizona and 1964 presidential candidate.

The program’s goal is to encourage a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships in the fields.

The scholarship is awarded to about 300 college sophomores and juniors nationwide. A maximum of $7,500 per academic year is granted. The scholarship is awarded based on merit. The amount given is based on financial need.


The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.